You will need a digital camera/good mobile like Iphone,HTC,Android phone to take photographs.
Disputes with British Gas or the local council over unpaid council tax can often lead to a blemishes to your credit history, mostly recorded when you are trying to tell them you when not responsible for the bill but because you don't have concrete proof of otherwise the case drags on, in the meantime you credit Protect your credit ratings
Disputes with British Gas or the local council over unpaid council tax can often lead to a blemishes to your credit history, mostly recorded when you are trying to tell them you when not responsible for the bill but because you don't have concrete proof of otherwise the case drags on, in the meantime you credit history is damaged and you will find it hard to get credit, open a bank account get a contract phone, or might even affect your ability to pass a credit check next time you want to rent a property.
It history is damaged and you will find it hard to get credit, open a bank account get a contract phone, or might even affect your ability to pass a credit check next time you want to rent a property.
Tenancy deposit protection does not make inventories compulsory. However, in practice, they are essential and should even be considered for best practice if not taking a deposit. Not only will you need an inventory in the sense of a list of items included in the tenancy (e.g. beds, curtains etc) but the inventory will have to record any damage/the condition of each item and any existing defects at the beginning of the tenancy will need to be set out.
If your deposit is intended to cover damage to the property itself you will also need a condition schedule. Again, this will need to record any damage which exists when the tenancy starts.
If an item of furniture is new or if the property has been recently internally decorated this will need to be recorded in your conditions schedule. You will need to take a full photographic record (e.g. with a digital camera or camcorder).
You will need to take an inventory/condition schedule both at the start of the tenancy and when the tenancy ends. You will need to make sure that at the beginning of the tenancy the tenant(s) signs off the inventory/condition schedule.
You must make sure that you check it carefully before they sign. Any photographs should be dated. For example you can always hold up a newspaper showing the date when you take one of the photographs.
It may not always be possible to get the tenant to check out the inventory/condition schedule at the end of the tenancy but try to do so wherever possible.
1. Cleanliness -this is the most common cause of dispute. This issue is simply avoided. If Landlords ensure the flat has been professionally cleaned prior to the start of the Tenancy, the Tenants will therefore be bound to leave the flat clean to a professional standard. Receipts should always be kept for any professional cleaning be it for carpets, general cleaning or curtains etc. It is also a good idea to try and employ the same cleaning company at the beginning and the end of the Tenancy.
2. Professional Cleaning – If a flat is professionally cleaned at the start of the Tenancy and the Tenant does not have the flat professionally cleaned, they will be liable for any costs that are incurred to return the flat to a similarly clean condition. Even if Tenants have cleaned the flat themselves to a good standard there may be omissions and the Tenants could be liable for additional cleaning costs.
3. Items left in situ by departing Tenants – many Tenants leave behind additional items, often furniture, cutlery, lamps, shelving etc. Many Tenants think by leaving items behind they can mitigate them against any damages/breakages for which they may be charged. This cannot and is not really a reasonable expectation-unless specifically agreed in advance with the Landlord. Any items left in situ by the Tenant which the Landlord has not agreed or require should be removed at the Tenants expense.
4. Decline in decorative order – wear and tear in a rental property is invariably greater than in an owner occupied property. It is inevitable that walls become marked over time. Agents follow a rough guide on estimated decor life, this again is based upon the style of the property and profile of the Tenants and more importantly the room within the property. It is most likely the hallway/stair walls will be marked/tire more quickly than the bedroom or dining room walls. Adding nails, picture hooks, using blu tac without permission, indents, excessive scuffing etc is not considered as being fair wear and tear.
5. Damages and breakages – Landlords and Tenants often take a different view of what constitutes damage and what is fair wear and tear. Also where damage has occurred Tenants and Landlords cannot agree on a value to be agreed for replacing/repairing or making good any damaged or lost items. Agents can provide guidance to help resolve these issues. A landlord is not entitled to replace something that has been used with a brand new replacement(irrespective of how much damage has occurred). When Landlords attempt do this it is known as 'betterment.' This is not deemed to be acceptable by regulated Agents or bodies such as the Dispute Service when seeking to resolve disputes. Landlords are entitled to be compensated for any loss they may incur as a result of having to replace something sooner than they would have had to had the item not been damaged or worn out more quickly than it would have been had it not been for the Tenants' actions.
6. Maintenance issues – Tenants and landlords often disagree about which problems are maintenance issues for which the landlord is responsible. An example is damp or water damage-clearly this is a maintenance issue for which the landlord is responsible. However, under the terms and conditions of a Tenancy agreement the Tenant has a responsibility to inform the Landlord/Agent of such issues. If a problem was prevalent for a period of time and not reported by the Tenant they me be liable to contribute towards the cost of making good any damages due to their lack of reporting the problem. This relates to other issues such as condensation, overgrown exterior foliage, a dripping tap etc. Tenants should ensure they are aware of their responsibilities as laid out in their Tenancy agreement.
7. Gardens – Tenants normally have an obligation under the terms and conditions of their Tenancy agreement to maintain the garden. If the Inventory has been completed properly at the start of the Tenancy photographs will have been taken. This will be done at the end of the Tenancy and can allow detailed comparisons. It is recommended that Landlords tend the garden eg mow lawns, weed the patio etc prior to every Tenancy. Where possible Landlords provide the appropriate tools for Tenants.
When renting a property, a landlord will in most cases ask for a deposit. The law after 6 April 2007 requires that a landlord deposits into a Tenancy Deposit Scheme to stop landlords from pocketing a tenant's money. These are the new rules for Assured Short hold Tenancies, which protect both the landlord and tenant in the case of a dispute and provides an Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADR) to resolve such dispute.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
At the end of your tenancy, the landlord will inspect the property to see if they are happy with how you have treated it. If there is any damage, they will apply for an amount of the deposit to cover the expense of returning the property to its original state. Any leftover money will be returned to you. If however, you dispute any application from your landlord for money, you need to contact your landlord and the Scheme with which your Deposit is held.
There are three schemes under the Housing Act 2004 with which your landlord may deposit your money in. Your landlord is required to give notice of the scheme they use and their contact details within 7 days of the tenancy agreement, should you need to contact them.
If you have not received this letter, then your landlord may not have deposited your money. You must check with each of the three schemes to see if your property is registered. If not, you can make a Part 8 application to your local County Court. The Judge must order your landlord to pay back three times the amount of the deposit plus the deposit, or order that the deposit must be placed in a scheme so that the dispute can be solved.
If you have a dispute, start by contacting your landlord to inform them of your complaints and then following it up in writing, giving them 14 days to respond. It is important to note that many landlords take photographs of their property or keep notes of inspections before you move in, which you should ask to see in the event of a dispute. That way you can analyse the state of the property 'before' and 'after'. Also keep a log of events and conversations between you and your landlord in case the dispute reaches court. (This where we come in by having your verified pictures and photographs and a inventory report prepared for you and not landlord/letting agent submitted as evidence, it is always a good idea to submit your own physical evidence rather than rely on your word of mouth, £29.99 could end of saving you hundreds of pounds)
Alternative Dispute Resolution
You should hopefully be able to negotiate with your landlord at this stage. If however the dispute remains unresolved, you should contact the scheme with which your deposit is held, detailing your complaints and sending them any evidence or correspondence between the landlord and yourself. At this point, the scheme's Alternative Dispute Resolution Service will aid in negotiations and arrange a date or dates for doing so. If negotiations fail, you may wish to take action in the Small Claims Court.
Small Claims Court
If you have to take your landlord to court to try and get your deposit back, you need to apply to the Small Claims court. You can represent yourself though you may wish to seek legal advice. The court will look at the evidence of both parties and decide who they rule in favour of. The law is normally on the side of the tenant and so if your landlord has acted unfairly, you may have a good chance of success.
Q. What is an Inventory?
An Inventory is a detailed list of fixtures, fittings and Landlord items found within a rental property-this includes listing all decor(colours of paintwork, woodwork, flooring) and appliances-including brands and model numbers, furniture, crockery/kitchen items etc.
Q. What is a Schedule of Conditions
The Schedule of Conditions is the detailed recording of the conditions of the Inventory items. A record of the cleanliness of the property and the general items is also recorded.
Q. What is a Check-In?
The 'Check-In' is the term often used to describe the time when the Tenant moves in to the property, the keys are handed over and meters read. At this time the Inventory will also be completed and the condition of the property at that particular time recorded.
Q. Are photographs included?
A selection of photographs taken of every property, to include meters and keys etc and to highlight any specific areas that may benefit from illustration further to the written Inventory document.
Q. Are the meter readings included on the Inventory document?
Meter readings are, where practicable recorded should always be done. The Inventory Clerk will be in possession of a number of keys(FB Keys/TBar keys/gas meter keys etc) which allow access to most meter cupboards. It is recommended that Landlords inform Agents of any difficult to locate meters or codes etc for secure cupboards. The ultimate responsibility for reading of the meters rests with the Tenant/Landlord. In the event the meters cannot be found on the day of the Inspection this will be recorded on the Report and the Tenant/Landlord should contact the relevant utility company to arrange for readings to be taken.
Q. What is fair wear & tear?
Fair wear & tear is generally considered to be a measure of the natural wear and decline of decor, fixtures and furnishing etc based upon normal day to day use. Various factors need to be taken into consideration:
a. The length of the Tenancy
b. The age and style of the property at the start of the Tenancy
c. The profile of the Tenants
d. The quality of the fixtures, furnishing and fittings
ARLA Agents have guidelines and formulas which are followed when calculating deposit returns. The Agent will advise the Tenant and Landlord as to any formulas used
Q. Is an Inventory needed for an unfurnished property?
The Short answer is yes. Even if a property is deemed as unfurnished, there will still be items that can be damaged and costly to replace e.g sinks, carpets, condition of walls etc. Consequently, it is still crucial to have a detailed inventory.
Q. What is a Check-Out?
1. The Check-Out Inspection takes place on the final day of the Tenancy term or on a date and time as close as possible to the last day of the Tenancy(where practicable)
2. At the time of the Check-Out Inspection the Tenant should have completed removing all personal items and all cleaning should be completed.
3. At the conclusion of the Check-Out Inspection the Tenant should return all keys belonging to the property and leave the flat for the last time. The Inventory Clerk will return the keys to the relevant Agent or any other third party as instructed. 4. At the Check-Out Inspection the original Inventory & Schedule of Conditions will be checked in full. Any differences and missing items are recorded and the main issues highlighted to the Tenant. Photographs of any damages and general photographs will also be taken at this time.
5. It is not a necessity that the Landlord/Tenant attends the Check-Out Inspection, although if a Tenant is in attendance it does allow them to provide answers to any queries eg if items cannot be found or damages are noted.
6. At the end of the Check-Out Inspection the meters are read(where accessible), the keys counted and checked and the Tenants forwarding address recorded. A handwritten schedule is also completed highlighting the main points.
7. The Check-Out Report is then typed up and returned to the Landlord/Agent/Tenant normally within 48/72 hours. At this point the Tenant/Landlord/Agent will discuss the Report with a view to reaching an agreement on the return of the Tenants deposit with any possible deductions highlighted.