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Property Inventories Need to be Picture Perfect

The recent TDS Guidance Notes on Disputes states that good detailed evidence at the start of a dispute case, plus a few photographs to back it up, helps to win cases. However, according to The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), glossy presentations with photographs and video are often being used to replace essential written descriptions in inventories at both check-in and check-out, leaving landlords exposed to potentially costly disputes with tenants over wear and tear.

An increasing number of landlords and property professionals are using photography and video evidence in tenancy deposit dispute cases. Landlords and letting agents are now beginning to see that clear evidence is needed, if they want to withhold all or part of their deposits.

Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC, says: "It is good to see that landlords are trying to provide the most detailed evidence they can, but a thorough and detailed inventory will provide the best evidence in a potential dispute. Photographs and video can provide good illustration, but are not at all helpful without a detailed inventory.

"There is no point in producing a picture book for an inventory with very little proper description and hundreds of photographs - inventories like these just do not provide enough detail. Photography and video are great for large areas of damage such as carpet burns, serious damage to worktops and interior décor etc. However, they are not so good for showing really fine detail - the sort of problems that occur most frequently on a check out, such as small chips and scratches in sinks and baths, knife marks on worktops, scratches to halogen hobs. All of which, will cause financial loss to the landlord if negligence cannot be proved.

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