Over the years many agents have taken to carrying inventories in many difference ways, some agents decide to use a video camera or film on their telephones and download them, others have taken the approach of taking numerous pictures of the property. Pictures can be useful and in some instances are vital such as things like gardens and the cleanliness of ovens, however taking a picture of an open room does not cover all angle’s and all areas of the room. At Guardian residential lettings we have taken the approach that one of our 4 fully trained inventory clerks will attend the property with a Dictaphone and using our particular innovative style of dictation and inventory awareness we will make sure that every angle and every corner of the room is covered in full regarding the condition of the property. Some people are under the impression that inventories simply cover the amount of furniture in the property, however this is more of a holiday let inventory. When letting out a residential property it is important to mention the condition of the walls, wood work, ceilings, floors and indeed the entire condition and colour of the property and items within it.
When carrying out a new inventory it is imperative that the property be ready as the tenant will find it. Anything left over will be dictated as such this can cause some arguments down the line, especially at the end of the tenancy. Therefore as a professional responsible landlord please make sure that you have your rental property in the condition you wish the tenants to find it at least 2 days prior to the move in. If the landlord has any special requests or requirements please email them to us prior so that when we carry out the inventory these can be added on. For example some landlords wish to leave packs of information regarding the property which can be helpful to the tenant including bin days or how a particular boiler may work, some landlords may have warranties or instructions manuals that they also wish to be included, please notify your set up team member at the time and they will make sure that these are added to the inventory as needed.
Once the inventory has been fully dictated it will then be typed by our professional secretary who will print out 3 copies. There is one for Guardian, one for the landlord and one for the tenant, this will be done in paper format. The tenant will sign and date all three on move in with the third copy having an amendment sheet to the front. As mentioned previously they will have 10 days in which to check and amend the inventory and make any adjustments they deem necessary. These adjustments will be viewed by ourselves should there be numerous items changed, however if there are simply 1 or 2 items we will simply sign this off and place directly on the file ready for the final inspection. If you are one of the landlords who have selected a fully managed service, and are having regular property inspections, a copy of the inventory will be placed inside a separate file and will be used specifically for property inspections. This inventory is then used every 10 / 12 weeks when we visit the property If there are any adjustments or changes to the property at that period of time they will be made on this copy of the inventory for future checks. This then keeps the condition of the property regularly updated so at end of the tenancy any reports that were made or dilapidations noted can be addressed, and if needs be charged for at the end of the tenancy. When we carry out the full final inspection using the property inspection inventory it will of course still carry the original notes made from the tenants.
Inventories are an imperative part of lettings, over the years many agents have not succeeded in having a detailed accurate account of the property and its condition as well as the items within it. Due to the legislation changes and the introduction of the deposit schemes from the government in April 2006. It is now important more than ever to have a detailed inventory so that the tenant has a right and fair say on. Without the inventory the end of the tenancy can be difficult. If the tenant wishes to argue any points over and above the inventory and the inventory is not in place or indeed is not detailed enough any of the deposit schemes will not look into or take the case seriously. Of all of the services that we offer here at Guardian we believe that the inventories are one of the most important parts of any let.
Rent and Deposit
When moving in to any rental property you will always be asked by Guardian Residential Lettings to pay one months’ rent and month’s deposit. The rent is paid in advance from the day that you move in to the same day of the next month. We would always ask that you pay your deposit in full and in cleared funds like your rent no later than the day of move in. Here at Guardian we have the facility to take payments over the telephone via debit or credit card, and encourage all of our tenants at the point of move in to set up a standing order, this enables the tenant to keep in control of their money and also ensures that the landlord received their rent on time and in full on a month by month basis.
The deposit, is placed down as a damage deposit and must logged with one of the three government schemes. Guardian Residential Letting and Sales have chosen to use the TDS, The Disputes Service and have done since its introduction in 2006 .We are pleased to announce that in the years of 15/16 we only had cause to go to the tenancy deposit scheme once. The scheme is used where no arrangement or agreement can be reached between the landlord and the tenant via our service. If the tenant should dispute anything at the end of the tenancy, in way of dilapidations or wear and tear it would be down to us to negotiate between the tenant and landlord to reach a suitable conclusion. If no outcome can be reached then the tenancy deposit would be asked to step in, at this stage we would contact both the landlord and the tenant and advise as such. We as the letting agent will fill out all the relevant paperwork directly for the landlord and would ask the tenant to fill out their paperwork and submit any and all evidence regarding their claim on line. We will do the same on behalf of the landlord taking the stress and strain out of the situation for the landlord and submitting all the paperwork online. This can take roughly 8 – 12 weeks to conclude. As an independent party the tenancy deposit scheme will simply read through all the information provided and decide on a course of action and compensation. Their decision is final.
It is important to mention that the damage deposit cannot be used as rent during the tenancy and therefore is not taken as such. When the deposit is logged with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme then a full set of paperwork will be sent to the tenant informing them of this and there will also be documents on How to rent and paperwork outlining your individual certificate number with the TDS. Therefore the tenants are fully aware that all laws and regulations are being followed fully and that their deposit is truly protected in the deposit scheme. It is also important to mention that none of our properties are rented to any tenants without a deposit being paid.
In some cases more than one months can deposit can be taken, for example if you have a cat or dog we would always ask for a minimum of £200 extra on the deposit as unfortunately pets can cause damage unknown to the tenants during the tenancy. In some cases they carry fleas which cannot always be identified until the new tenants have moved in. The movement of the new tenants can cause ruffling’s to the floors and carpets and then allow the fleas to return. Most tenants who have pets are happy to pay this figure as they understand an animal carries a premium.
When the final inspection is carried out and the property left in the condition it was found bar wear and tear then of course a full deposit is fully returned. Although legally we have up to 28 days to carry this out, we will of course do this as soon as is possible. In most cases we endeavour to have it done within seven working days.
We are pleased to say that in many cases a full deposit is returned to many of our tenants who leave their properties in an excellent condition and in some cases better than they original found it.
Since we opened our doors in 1994 Guardian Residential Lettings have carried out numerous property inspections on thousands and thousands of properties. We have taken the time to improve this part of our service and have developed it into its current form. We are pleased to announce that we have introduced the new version of the Snap Inspect App. This allows us to carry out property inspections using a pre-selected format which allows for both digital pictures, video and written description room per room. With any and all points that need to be mentioned on your property. Having researched numerous different ways of carrying out the property inspections, we found that this is the most detailed and simplest format currently being used in numerous countries around the world. This can only benefit our business and improve our service to you the landlord.
We carry out our property inspection every 10 - 12 weeks. In order for us to carry out the property inspection we send a letter and or email to the tenants roughly a week before we are looking to carry out their inspection. We will always invite the tenant should they wish to move or cancel the appointment for any reason such as a sickness or holidays or indeed if it is not a convenient date to call in on receipt of the letter so that we may do so. Our inspections are carried between the hours of 10am and 2pm on a daily basis Monday to Friday. In many instances keys are used to gain access to the properties knowing full well the tenant has not responded to the letter and is in agreement that we may attend and gain full access.
On gaining access to the property we will go room by room, checking off the amended inventory that was carried out prior to move in, as well as taking into account the tenants notes. We will be looking for any obvious signs of damage, or problems with property, or indeed changes that have been made by the tenant above and beyond the inventory which the landlord and ourselves may not be aware off. This can include things like redecoration of walls, wall mounted objects and in some cases new flooring or furniture that may have been removed. It should be noted that no physical changes can be made to the property without the landlord’s permission. Full pictures of each room will be taken as well as pictures of any and all problems that are listed. If the property is in excellent condition then this will be noted down as a general comment throughout. Once each room have been dictated we will then complete the property inspection in full, lock up as we found the property and leave and return to the office.
On returning to the office your individual property report will be downloaded and saved into your property file. A hard copy will be printed of and placed in the property inspection file so that the next time any inspections are carried out all previous issues that were noted can be read through and used in future appointments. We will then send out a full property inspection report to yourself via email and in some cases via post if necessary and if any dilapidations where found at the property a note of these will be made on our computer system. Within 24 / 48 hours of receiving your report you will receive a telephone call from the inspecting agent who will then run through the report with you and go through any and all issues that have been spotted at the property should they need to be discussed. If of course the property is still being kept in good condition or is as it was on the original inventory then no phone will be forthcoming. If landlord’s wish to attend their property inspections at any point it can sometimes be wise to carry out at least 1 a year with the agent in place, then we would invite you to call in and arrange a suitable time and date that works for both you and the tenant. We can also notify you when the next scheduled appointment is in for and you may wish to take half a day or a few hours out to come with us at that particular time.
We have had great success with Snap Inspect 3 and will continue to use it over the coming years, finding it both simplistic and detailed for all concerned. We have had great feedback from all our existing customers with this new innovative idea. In some instances tenants of course do have issues with pictures being taken and we fully respect this if the objections cannot be overcome and as long as the landlord is happy to accept their decision.
A final inspection is one of the most key appointments made during a tenancy. At this point it is a chance to end an existing tenancy, review the property in a small period of time and also have the property ready for a new tenant moving in. We aim to have all of these things achieved within a period of 3 – 5 working days. If the tenants have served their 2 months’ notice there will of course be a final day of tenancy. This will be the day when the keys will be returned to us here at the office and then we are able to carry out our final inspection.
Around a week before this date we will contact the landlord and the tenant and book in a suitable time and invite the landlord and tenants to attend the appointment. In particular we would always encourage the landlord to attend the property at the final inspection, seeing any potential issues or problems on the final inspection and dealing directly with the tenant at the time can be a lot more beneficial for all. Once the appointment time is booked a member of Guardian Residential management team will attend the property with the original inventory and the amendments made by the tenant. We will then carry out a full and detailed check of all rooms in the property, marking it against the original inventory and the tenant’s amendments. We will be looking at everything from floors, walls to decoration to potential damage or changes to the property and cleanliness throughout. In many cases the tenants leave properties equally as well as they found them and in some cases better. However there is the occasional time when dilapidations may occur at the end of the tenancy due to accidental damage or cleanliness issues.
Once any issues have been identified we will of course speak to the tenant directly and point these out at the property should the tenant be in attendance. We will then return to the office and carry out a full and detailed check our report, this is a report which list the differences between the original inventory and the condition of the property in which it has been left. This will then be sent to the landlord and the tenant and we will then begin the process of negotiating between the two parties to reach a suitable conclusion.
There are many potential options where the tenant may return to carry out any work with the landlords agreement, it could be an instance where the landlord wishes to carry out the work themselves, or a tradesman are needed to carry out issues that have been left by the tenant ready for a new inventory and new tenants to move in.
Our top priority is that everyone is dealt with fairly and equally but at the same time the property is ready for the new tenants who are waiting to move into their new home. Some instances due to the swift turn around we find ourselves in a position where we have to continue to negotiate past the moving in date of the new tenants until we reach a suitable conclusion.
Since April 2006 the Government have introduced the Tenancy Deposit Scheme of which Guardian Residential are a fully paid member. Should any and all negotiations not reach a satisfactory conclusion then unfortunately the tenancy deposit scheme has a part to play. I must stress at this point that we do everything in our power to make sure that this is not the case as we believe in our tenants and landlords and our ability to reach a conclusion and agreement. From April 2016 to April 2017 we are pleased to announce that out of all our tenancies that ended only one went to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Should an agreement not be met between the landlord and tenant via ourselves then we will submit all of our evidence including the checkout report and original inventory to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme on behalf of our landlord. The tenant will be asked to do this for themselves and the relevant links and information will be supplied. It should be noted by all parties that that can take anywhere between 8 – 10 weeks before a conclusion can be reached. The amount of money that will be held back will be the figure that is being debated and discussed. Anything above that from the tenants deposit will be returned to them in full.
If the tenant , as they do in many cases leave the property in an excellent condition and there is a full deposit return then we will have legally up to 28 days to do so, however here at Guardian we tend to take around 5 – 7 workings to transfer this back to you as quickly as possible. We will always ask tenants for their forwarding addresses and bank details on the final inspection. At the end of the tenancy as this will help us to close the file and complete the details on this particular tenancy. Should a landlord wish to leave a larger gap between tenants moving out and new tenants moving in order to carry out any extra work above and beyond what is being requested then this can always be arranged at the point of set up and when the let is agreed.
The importance of the inventory and the final inspection cannot be underestimated in the world of lettings, particularly in a modern era, there are more and more regulations being inserted by a national and local government to protect tenancies and tenants, and in many cases these are a positive and should be adhered to. However setting up a tenancy professionally and correctly at the front end is also imperative for both tenant and landlord and this is where we feel our service is above and beyond other agents.
Should you wish to know more information about final inspections or anything written above please do not hesitate to contact us on the email link or telephone numbers below.