The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), the UK’s only membership association for independent inventory clerks, is still hopeful that the government will introduce some form of mandatory inventory reporting legislation in the near future.
Since 2016, the association has been campaigning for the introduction of mandatory independent inventory reporting of all private rental properties with the aim of providing greater protection and higher professional standards.
As part of its ongoing campaign, the AIIC has petitioned and lobbied the government, carried out educational talks in London and held a series of meetings with deposit protection and property redress schemes.
Danny Zane, chair of the AIIC, said: “We’re knocking on all of the relevant doors to make compulsory inventory reporting a reality in the private rented sector (PRS).
“The importance of impartial check-ins and check-outs taking place at the start and end of each tenancy cannot be underestimated.
“As rents rise and subsequently push up the value of average security deposits, it’s vital that the tenant’s money and landlord’s investment are offered the required protection.”
“Of course, even tenancies using zero deposit schemes can end in dispute or with property damage when the tenancy ends.
“Wider adoption of independent inventories will contribute towards fewer deposit disputes, while these documents remain invaluable in the event that a disagreement between landlord and tenant is referred to a deposit protection scheme.”
An independent inventory, commonly compiled by an inventory clerk, details a property’s condition at the start and end of a tenancy, protecting renters from unreasonable deposit deductions as well as protecting landlords’ property investments.
They also provide landlords and letting agents with the means to pursue deductions for cases of genuine damage and poor property upkeep.
Independent reporting is crucial because it ensures impartiality and the presence of a professionally compiled set of documents. If a deposit dispute occurs, an independent inventory could become crucial for both parties.
The AIIC says that as the government increases regulation of the PRS, mandatory inventory reporting must be one of the final pieces of the puzzle.
A ban on upfront letting agent fees charged to tenants as well as a six-week cap on security deposits are due to become law next spring at the earliest, and the rental trade body said legislation around inventory reporting would complement these policies.
Zand added: “In order for the deposit cap to be truly effective, landlords and tenants need to be sure that the money is protected not only by a deposit protection scheme, but by an impartial inventory which provides full details of the property’s condition.
“Moreover, if rents rise due to the ban on fees as expected, then typical damage deposits will increase as a result.
“This means landlords will need to be able to call upon an inventory to prove deductions. At the same time, higher sums of tenants’ money will be at risk and so they will need the assurance that it’s protected by impartiality.
Over the coming months, the AIIC said it will continue to campaign for mandatory independent inventory reporting by raising awareness and meeting with relevant stakeholders.
Established in 1996, the organisation is the UK’s largest membership association for independent inventory clerks with almost 1,000 members nationwide.
Zane said: “In recent months, there’s been a rise in training and software businesses posing as inventory membership associations, which is another reason to look for AIIC membership from your inventory clerks.”