On 1 June 2019, the lettings free ban is due to be implemented, restricting the services landlords and letting agents can charge tenants for. Although this has been widely met with approval, Daniel Zane, chair of the AIIC, has warned that this ban may not be as good for tenants as suggested.
The main argument Mr Zane has put forward regarding how the ban could negatively affect tenants involves landlords and agents no longer being able to charge tenants for unbiased inventory reports, which could leave tenants vulnerable should landlords cut costs by taking shortcuts when it comes to invoicing.
The use of unbiased and impartial inventory reports at the start of a tenancy is generally seen to be the most vital system for ensuring a tenant’s deposit is safe and cannot be subject to unfair deductions. Using property inventory software offers both tenants and landlords peace of mind when it comes to ensuring their rights are being upheld. Keeping this inventory process with an impartial third-party means tenants can use the report to back up their case should they come up against a rogue landlord or any disputes raised following the end of a tenancy.
Moreover, in the case of any disputes, courts and deposit schemes will always favour a professional, impartial, clear inventory report, completed by a third party who has no relation to either the landlord, tenant or letting agent.
A look at what is property inventory software
Getting the right property inventory software can be a lifeline for landlords, letting agents and tenants in ensuring their interests are properly protected and any deposits or property is safe from misuse by the other party. Using the right software can assist landlords and agents to not only produce professional, unbiased inventories, but also help organise tenants’ check-ins and check-outs, arrange interim inspections throughout the tenancy, and sort through any building inspection or risk assessment that might be required.
Although not currently a legal requirement, there have been calls for professional inventory-taking to be a mandatory part of letting agreements in order to protect both parties.
As the amendments to chargeable fees move closer, landlords will not be able to charge tenants for this service, but inventories are always recommended.