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Unbiased Detailed Evidence

Because deposit disputes are never easy.

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Safeguarding Rental Property:
Why a Professional Inventory is vital.

You want to make tenancy deposit deductions. But because the deposit is protected, you can only make that deduction with the tenant’s permission. So what happens if they disagree? Follow the story of our animated characters to find out.

Property damaged at end of tenancy

Property is damaged, items are missing and stacks of rubbish are left behind. Landlord tries to agree deductions from the deposit but tenant disagrees, so the deposit scheme administrators refer the dispute to the adjudication process.

Referral to adjudication process

The adjudicator demands the original inventory and check-in report plus proof of damage or missing items. Evidence must be robust and reliable with detailed before and after descriptions, date stamped photos, receipts or quotes and proof that the tenant was invited to comment on the check-in report.

Good outcome

It’s good news: the inventory and reports were well-detailed and the adjudicator has agreed on balance of probability to the deductions from the deposit. The property can be repaired at no cost to the landlord.

Bad outcome

Bad news, the inventory wasn’t good enough. Detail was lacking and there was no photographic before and after evidence. The adjudicator finds in favour of the tenant and there’s no appeal process, so the landlord can either take it to court (at substantial expense), or cover the repair costs himself.

When a tenancy ends, landlords need to know they can make sufficient deductions from the deposit to cover any cleaning and repair costs to get the property back to how it was at the start. But without undeniable evidence, such as that provided by an independent inventory/check-in and unbiased check-out report, there is a greatly reduced chance of the deposit protection schemes approving a claim, leaving landlords with no choice but to cover the cleaning and repair costs themselves.

Ketan Tailor
Cameron Estate Agents

A professional inventory is beneficial to landlords for many reasons. Not only does it provide undisputable proof when they need to claim against a deposit for repairs and cleaning, it also highlights any safety issues that need attention. Unbiased inventory reports also protect tenants against unfair claims.

Barney Deacon
Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward

I always recommend my clients invest in a professional inventory and unbiased check-out report. In any deposit claim, it is down to the landlord to supply evidence to the deposit scheme adjudicator to prove their case, rather than for the tenant to defend the claim. Whilst it can be tempting to save money with a DIY inventory, this really is a false economy. It is very difficult to make a successful claim without fully detailed, unbiased evidence, and landlords must realise that for this reason, a professional inventory is vital.

John Adlam
Hunters Estate Agents

Tenant Damage Claims

What the Deposit Schemes Say.

The importance of a properly completed inventory cannot be underestimated. It must be robust and defensible if it is to be held up as a proper indicator of the facts and therefore viewed as acceptable by an adjudicator or court. Tenancy deposit protection schemes do not disregard, out of hand, inventories that are not prepared by independent companies or individuals. However, they are likely to place less weight on their contents.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Any inventory document written by the landlord (not an independent third party) that doesn’t give details about the condition or age of an item will have less value when being considered by the adjudicator. It may also affect the landlord’s claim based on ‘a balance of probabilities.

Deposit Protection Service

Facts & Figures

Proving the Issue

of deposits protected resulted in a dispute
of TDS disputes involve cleaning
of tenancy deposit disputes involve damage
deposit scheme
disputes since 2007
Damage, cleaning & redecoration
the most common reasons for tenancy deposit disputes
Figures include all tenancy deposit protection schemes in England and Wales and are accurate as of 31 March 2016. Source: Tenancy Deposit Scheme Statistical Briefing September 2016.

Real Life Stories

It could happen to you.

Real life check-out photographs

This landlord’s properties continuously suffered serious damage at the hands of unscrupulous tenants.

  • Broken locks and window/door catches
  • Missing light fittings
  • Stained carpets and furnishings
  • Dented, marked and gouged walls
  • Scratched and badly damaged flooring & stairs
  • Freezer never defrosted
  • Large volumes of rubbish in garden
  • Missing parts to furniture and appliances
  • Damage to furniture and appliances
  • Burn marks on ceilings
  • Holes drilled in doors & punched into walls
  • Radiator brackets pulled out of wall
  • Numerous areas uncleaned

The trouble was he was never able to reclaim for the damage in full, because he didn’t have the necessary evidence to make deductions from the tenants’ deposits.

The repair costs were significantly eating into the landlord’s profits, so he accepted that investing in a professional inventory and check-in/check-out was the right thing to do. The good news is that these days, the landlord has all the evidence he needs to make successful claims on his tenants’ deposits.

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