Check-in/check-out inventory discrepancies

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    Check-in/check-out inventory discrepancies

    I hope you can help...

    I have just ended a tenancy (AST - began May 2007) on a flat rented from a private landlord (managed by an agency). My deposit is protected via the TDS.

    Three days after I moved in, an inventory was carried out by an independent inventory clerk. Although I was present at this, I never received a copy of the inventory report (so it was never signed and I didn't have the opportunity to make any additions). Four days after my tenancy ended, the check-out inventory took place. I have just received the report from this which compares it with the check-in inventory and am unsure how to proceed (and how worried to be).

    The report lists lots of defects which were already there when I moved in (eg. door handles, the bath panel coming away, loose toilet seat) - these are listed as happening since the moving-in inspection. It also keeps referring to 'settlement cracks' and 'raised floorboards' as appearing since the original report. These were definitely there at the start of my tenancy.

    Between my leaving the flat and the check-out report, the fridge freezer was removed and the toilet was used (I presume by the landlord/his agents). The report mentions that the floor looks as if it hasn't been cleaned and there's debris - but I believe this is due to workmen (I presume) having been in the flat.

    There are lots of other discrepancies in the report - the condition of the flat when I moved in was worse than how it is described in the check-in report. If I had seen the report I would have added things (but wouldn't have thought to have included many of the defects that the check-out report includes!). Strangely, the reprort omits damage that I did cause (I accidently chipped some paintwork and there is a small patch of dirt on the carpet which I couldn't remove).

    I plan to go through the check-out report and write the inventory company an email detailing what I disagree with in their report (and the fact that most of what they are saying has happened during my tenancy was already present when I moved in).

    Is there anything else I should be doing? What kind of response am I likely to get? I am worried that I may be held responsible for defects that were already there at the beginning of my tenancy. Does the fact that the check-in didn't happen until a few days after I moved in and the check-out didn't take place until 4 days after the tenancy ended affect the situation?

    I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on this.

    Thanks

    #2
    Originally posted by Janah View Post
    I hope you can help...

    I have just ended a tenancy (AST - began May 2007) on a flat rented from a private landlord (managed by an agency). My deposit is protected via the TDS.

    Three days after I moved in, an inventory was carried out by an independent inventory clerk. Although I was present at this, I never received a copy of the inventory report (so it was never signed and I didn't have the opportunity to make any additions). Four days after my tenancy ended, the check-out inventory took place. I have just received the report from this which compares it with the check-in inventory and am unsure how to proceed (and how worried to be).

    The report lists lots of defects which were already there when I moved in (eg. door handles, the bath panel coming away, loose toilet seat) - these are listed as happening since the moving-in inspection. It also keeps referring to 'settlement cracks' and 'raised floorboards' as appearing since the original report. These were definitely there at the start of my tenancy.

    Between my leaving the flat and the check-out report, the fridge freezer was removed and the toilet was used (I presume by the landlord/his agents). The report mentions that the floor looks as if it hasn't been cleaned and there's debris - but I believe this is due to workmen (I presume) having been in the flat.

    There are lots of other discrepancies in the report - the condition of the flat when I moved in was worse than how it is described in the check-in report. If I had seen the report I would have added things (but wouldn't have thought to have included many of the defects that the check-out report includes!). Strangely, the reprort omits damage that I did cause (I accidently chipped some paintwork and there is a small patch of dirt on the carpet which I couldn't remove).

    I plan to go through the check-out report and write the inventory company an email detailing what I disagree with in their report (and the fact that most of what they are saying has happened during my tenancy was already present when I moved in).

    Is there anything else I should be doing? What kind of response am I likely to get? I am worried that I may be held responsible for defects that were already there at the beginning of my tenancy. Does the fact that the check-in didn't happen until a few days after I moved in and the check-out didn't take place until 4 days after the tenancy ended affect the situation?

    I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on this.

    Thanks
    What affects the situation is that the inventory was not agreed or signed by you at the start of the tenancy. The LL has therefore no proof of condition of property or contents and would struggle to justify any deductions from your deposit. You can write to him if you wish, but as the onus is on him to prove his case rather than on you to disprove it, I would just claim your deposit back in the ususal way and if he wants to dispute it, let him try. Without objective evidence I can't see him getting very far. He could have just made the inventory up, couldn't he.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      I would concur with the above comments.

      Also, next time (if there will be a next time), make sure the inventory checkin and checkout are carried out before you actually move in (a few hours before or something) and on the day of your depature.

      Do not accept any other arrangement as this is what leads to these problems and often much worse.
      Do not take anything on trust or accept delayed inspections because the LL/agent seem to be good blokes, nice, etc.

      But you should feel assured that the LL cannot make any legal deductions because of the way he/she has managed the inventory procedures.

      Write a letter to the LL challenging any deductions from your deposit and explain that both inspections were carried out incorrectly, that the inventory and check in report was never issued to you and you have never signed anything at any time. Therefore, they are all invalid.

      Also, inform the LL that you know the property was entered by workmen after your vacated and before the check out was carried out.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks a lot for your replies - very useful and I will follow your advice.

        I'm amazed that the inventory company included information about things like settlement cracks and badly fitted lino as I don't understand how a tenant could be responsible for them! Next time I start a tenancy I'll be sure to document every millimetre of the property...

        Comment


          #5
          Just a query here.......is there any actual case law concerning this (and not just heresay) that when an independent inventory clerk does the inventory it would be ignored by a Court because the tenant hadn't seen or signed it?

          I know we all say 'inventory must be signed' but is that the actual legal position? I would have thought that an independent inventory clerk would be considered the expert and their judgment relied upon rather than the tenant's view?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by p_cas View Post
            Just a query here.......is there any actual case law concerning this (and not just heresay) that when an independent inventory clerk does the inventory it would be ignored by a Court because the tenant hadn't seen or signed it?

            I know we all say 'inventory must be signed' but is that the actual legal position? I would have thought that an independent inventory clerk would be considered the expert and their judgment relied upon rather than the tenant's view?
            I think the issue is that with the tenant's signature and a date, the tenant can be safely regarded as approving the contents and during the checkin procedure, the tenants have every opportunity to verify or dispute each item/aspect of the property as they go round the property.

            Even if the report is carried out by an independent inventory clerk, without a signature and date, the clerk could have issued the report at any time and even made stuff up.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Mogin View Post
              I think the issue is that with the tenant's signature and a date, the tenant can be safely regarded as approving the contents and during the checkin procedure, the tenants have every opportunity to verify or dispute each item/aspect of the property as they go round the property.

              Even if the report is carried out by an independent inventory clerk, without a signature and date, the clerk could have issued the report at any time and even made stuff up.

              Yes, obviously that's the ideal but what I was asking is whether it's legally necessary to have a tenants signature if you have the inventories done by professional independent inventory clerks. And why would an independent inventory clerk 'make things up' anyway? To what benefit?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by p_cas View Post
                And why would an independent inventory clerk 'make things up' anyway? To what benefit?
                People do collude in this world. I am not going to suggest reasons, but they are there.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I can't comment on case law (and I hope my situation won't come to that!)

                  I think, in my case, it's not that the clerk made things up - the clerk who did the check-in wasn't very thorough and missed out lots of things. A different clerk did the check-out and it appears as if he analysed every minute bit of the flat so there are lots of discrepancies.

                  Comment

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