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With news that former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has been ordered to pay £70,000 compensation to her former landlord for the “appalling” condition she left her rented flat in, it’s clear that property inspections and inventories are a crucial part of the rental process for both landlords and tenants.

In Tulisa’s case, it was claimed that she “trashed” the £1 million flat she was renting in Enfield between 2014 and 2016, returning the property in an unlettable state at the end of her tenancy.

Despite her lawyer’s argument that she left the flat in a condition that was not beyond normal wear and tear, the judge ruled against her, ordering her to pay compensation, interest and legal costs in excess of £70,000 to the landlord – largely due to the property inventory work carried out at the start of the tenancy.

Here, we take a look at what property inventories are, the purpose of inspections, and why both are so vital for a seamless tenancy between landlord and tenant.

What is a property inventory?

A property inventory is a factual report that details the contents of a property at the beginning of a tenancy. It includes a list of all fixtures, fittings and furniture in the property, and records the state of each item in every room, which is known as a ‘schedule of condition’. This means that any chips, defects, scratches or stains are made note of at the time of the report. Any amends to the inventory will need to be approved and signed by the landlord and tenant.

Why are property inventories so important?

A property inventory is carried out just before the new tenant moves in, forming an important part of the tenancy agreement. Then, when the tenancy ends, a checkout inspection takes place. This compares the current condition of the property with the agreed inventory records.

Should there be any disputes at this point, the landlord and/or tenant will need to have evidence to benchmark their complaints against. In the case of a landlord wanting to take money from the tenant’s security deposit for damages against their property – as demonstrated in Tulisa’s case – they can then refer to the property inventory to prove that the impairments are more than reasonable wear and tear.

Why are property inspections needed?

Property inspections are an important way of protecting both the landlord and tenant, ensuring the rental property is a safe place to live. Inspections aren’t meant to be intrusive, instead, they are set up to check that the landlord’s investment is maintained.

How often should a rented property be inspected?

Property inspections are typically carried out every three months or so to make sure the property is in a good, safe condition, but this can vary. What’s important is that the tenant is notified at least 24 hours in advance that an inspection is going to take place.

How Ayers & Cruiks can help

We offer a range of specialist property management services to help landlords across Essex make wise property investments and provide tenants with a safe and happy home to live.

Here at Ayers & Cruiks, Carole Millbank specialises in inventories and inspections to give landlords a professional in-house service to ensure their property is properly presented and reported for the deposit protection.

If you’re on the lookout for new tenants or want help managing your property portfolio, speak to our team of experts today. Call us on 01702 343060 or contact us to discuss your needs – we’re here to help!

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