Posted by Jack Pestill, Senior Associate
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Warning about the use of photos in tenancy disputes
UK letting agents and landlords are being warned that inventory lists compiled using some technologies cannot guarantee state-of-repair proof or protection from tenant disputes.
An inventory is a binding legal document and must provide a complete record of a property’s condition and contents.
Though many landlords resort to using technology – particularly photographic evidence – to record their inventories, in many tenancy dispute cases adjudicators have been known to reject technology-generated proof when it does not deliver the necessary level of detail for a clear judgement to be made.
While photographs and video footage can show large areas of damage such as stained carpets, broken walls and soiled soft furnishings, they often miss details such as dents and scratches on ceramic surfaces (including sinks and baths) and marks made on worktops.
Landlords can lose hundreds of pounds in dispute cases if they fail to keep written descriptions for inventories, as well as supporting photographic or video evidence, to prove what a property’s original condition was like at the start of a tenancy.
Whenever photographs are printed and used as evidence they should be large, high-quality prints, and the dates they were taken should also be embedded if possible.
The law is clear that deposit money belongs to a tenant and that they are entitled to receive it back once they cease to live in a landlord’s property, provided they have met the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Therefore, it is in a landlord’s best interest to keep a full inventory, as this will put them in a strong position when proposing any deposit deductions or dealing with any disputes that arise.