Inventory companies/clerks/fees

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    Originally posted by Paragon View Post
    In London, I use an independant inventory clerk (she has a company name but is fairly much a one man band). I believe the last time it was about £140. I pay for the initial checkin and the tenant pays for the checkout.

    To professionally clean a two bed flat in London, it cost about £250 two years ago. That included steam cleaning the carpets, curtains, and oven. They had ladders to get to the picture rails and the top of the curtain pelmets. They even walked around with plastic bags on their feet. It was a fantastic job. Needless to say, the tenants got every bit of their deposit back.
    Would you be able to give the name of this company? I'm after a recommendation. Cheers


      Fees for inventory, check-in, and check-out


      I'm currently trying to challenge my letting agents claim for checking my inventory when I leave the property I'm renting. They want £50+VAT, not extortionate I know but they're so useless that the thought of paying them any money angers me!

      My challenge is that the inventory document they issued didn’t arrive until 1 week after I'd moved in and was riddled with discrepancies and errors so took me ages to draw up a schedule of amendments.

      It is written into the agreement that I am liable for the fee they're claiming for "the checking of any Inventory and or Schedule of Condition” but when I spoke to them following my written challenge they talk about a "check out fee", which isn’t what's in the agreement surely.

      My argument is, when the agreement says checking the inventory, and the inventory was both late and inaccurate am I justified in refusing to pay? Especially seeing as I drew up most of the inventory myself! Or alternatively could I counter charge them for the time and effort it took to rectify owing to their incompetence?

      any help would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Tom


        So if you don’t pay it what happens, they don’t check the property for damage? I can’t see how they can charge you for checking the condition of the property at the end of your tenancy, surely it is in their interested, and your landlords that they carry out a check to see whether you have caused any damage, and therefore whether to hold on to your deposit or not (was your deposit protected?).

        Just don’t understand what they will do if you don’t pay, not carry out the inspection, well that would be stupid of them. Unless there is something I’m not getting!
        I don’t think you could counter charge them, but it’s a nice thought! If they refuse to carry out the inspection cause you won’t pay, then I would advise that you take photos of how you have left the property, maybe get a 3rd party to visit the flat as a witness to how you left the place.

        I would be tempted not to pay it and see what they do. I don’t know whether that charge would be enforceable as it’s in the agreement, maybe a Solicitor on the forum can advise?


          Thanks for your comments avid.

          they word the agreement to say "pay or be liable to pay" so think they'd claim it against my deposit, it is protected by the DPS so could argue the point.

          I'm wondering anybody; if the inventory didnt exist on the date that the tenancy agreement was signed then is this clause applicable?


            Originally posted by norfolk_tom View Post
            I'm wondering anybody; if the inventory didnt exist on the date that the tenancy agreement was signed then is this clause applicable?
            That may depend upon the precise wording of the clause. Apart from that, the important point is whether the inventory was agreed, rather than when it was agreed.


              Hi Lawcruncher.

              Clause reads:

              "Having replaced the landlord's items in the same areas of the premises as at commencement of the tenancy, to coperate in the checking of any Inventory and or Schedule of Condition and to pay, or be liable to pay £50 plus VAT at the prevailing rate for the checking of any Inventory and or Schedule of condition."

              The inventory was agreed in that I replied including a schedule of amendments and said if i didn't hear back within 7days I'd assume they'd accept my amendments.

              I accept the inventory is now accurate, what I object to is having to pay for the priveledge of checking a document that was late and inaccurate. Surely if it wasn't provided when I signed and dated the agreement then it can't form part of the agreement?

              their cover letter on issuing the inventory talks of returning it to "finalise the tenenacy documentation" but if i've already signed and been resident for 1week before receiving the Inventory how can it form part of the documentation?


                Originally posted by norfolk_tom View Post
                what I object to is having to pay for the priveledge of checking a document that was late and inaccurate.

                When LA use the words "check out fee" they are referring to the fee for taking another record of the condition of the property when you leave. ["Check out" here having a similar meaning to the which it has when you "check out" of a hotel. ]

                THIS is what you have agreed to pay for, not the record of condition when you took up residence.

                As you signed the agreement, you can expect to find the "check out fee" [= fee for "the checking of any Inventory and or Schedule of Condition” upon your leaving the premises] deducted from you deposit.

                Out of interest, was an independent inventory clerk employed?

                The LA may propose other deductions from your deposit, depending on the condition of the property at check out. So you will need to be sure that you agree with the written record of the condition at checkout.



                  the wording is very ambiguous as I too agree that the "pay or be liable to pay for the checking of the Schedule......." does not in my mind appear to mean "to pay or be liable to pay for the termination check at the end of the tenancy...." which I think is what the LA are wanting you to pay for.

                  I would argue the point as the wording should really read "at the end of the or be liable....

                  They could try and deduct it from your deposit however I dont think they have a leg to stand on.


                    Check Out Charges

                    The saga of our nightmare tenancy goes on.

                    We are renting a 4 bedroom house under an AST. The owner has exercised the break clause so that she can sell the house in the tenancy agreement and we are moving in 3 weeks. The owner has found a buyer and the sale is progressing.

                    When we took the tenancy the property was in poor decorative order and we spent £2,500 last year having most of it professionally decordated. It's in much better condition now than when we moved in.

                    The owner's agents want to charge £176.25 (incl VAT) for the checkout. They are using an external agency to do the check out. We have suggested that, subject to the owner's agreement, they could do the checkout themselves and charge us rather less particularly given the condition of the property and that it has been sold. So far they are not only refusing to do this but they don't seem prepared to even ask the owner about it.

                    Leaving aside the slightly unusual circumstances of the checkout, I can't find anyone on the web who charges so much for a checkout for this size of property. Moreover, the check in charge was £126.50. Whilst this was a year ago, it is significantly less than the check out charge. Again I can't find anyone who charges more for the check out than the check in.

                    I can't find anything in the AST that deals with check out/ in charges. We did, however, sign a Notification of Costs attached to a Tenants Guide to Lettings that says we are liable for checkout costs.

                    Some questions:

                    1) Am I right in thinking that the charge seems high for the size of property and is strange for exceeding the check in costs.

                    2) Is there a reasonable argument for them to use a cheaper check out service given our own expenditure on the property?

                    3) Given that the tenancy agreement doesn't appear to make reference to the costs of check in and check out, can they deduct the cost of the check out from our deposit or so they have to separately bill us for this?

                    4) If the checkout cost is deducted from the deposit, is it subject to the normal dispute rules and can it be challenged under them?

                    Sorry for all the questions.


                      Why would you take on a property that you weren't happy with the decor. Although you have spent a considerable amount of money on the property this was obviously your choice to spend this much. And you were aware that there was a cost for checkout. I would suspect the charge is more than the check in due to more work being required ESP if there are discrepancies. Also what if the landlord agrees not to have a checkout done and reenters the property to find damage? I can see where you are coming from the house is to be sold but the. Checkout is as much to protect you as it is you. I personally would put the option to the landlord but would advise the landlord not to agree in case of damage.


                        If the tenancy agreement does not provide for you to pay the cost of the check-out then you do not have to pay it. Since you are under no obligation to pay it it cannot be deducted from the deposit.


                          Thanks for your reply.

                          I take your point. The rent for the property was about £200pm less than comparable properties and we decided to decorate it rather than ask for it to be decorated before we moved in. We had hoped to be here for another 1.5 years but that's water under the bridge.

                          Our issue here is the reasonableness of the check out charge. The lettings company seem to be using a really expensive service for the checkout when it's fairly obvious that a walk through would probably suffice.


                            Originally posted by Seminole View Post
                            Our issue here is the reasonableness of the check out charge.
                            With respect that should not be the issue. The issue is whether you have an obligation to pay. If you have no obligation to pay, tell them you are not paying anything. If they insist, tell them to take their insistence, note it on a sheet of paper, roll the paper tightly and then insert it in a bodily orifice of their choosing. I do not think that the regulation of letting agents is on any political agenda. People need to start standing up to them.


                              Originally posted by Seminole View Post
                              Our issue here is the reasonableness of the check out charge.
                              The first thing to establish is whether or not you are actually liable for the check out charge, as per lawcruncher's comment.

                              The contract may not make specific reference to it, but may refer to landlord/agent costs etc.


                                Thanks for the replies.

                                My wife has just finished reading the tenancy agreement from cover to cover and I was wrong. It does make reference to us paying for the checking of the inventory at the end of the tenancy. Sorry for the confusion.

                                We are therefore faced with a bill of £150 plus VAT for the checkout of a 4 bed unfurnished house. I can only find one other inventory service in our area (Surrey) that charges as much. Most are £100 or less.

                                Given that the fee is deductible from the deposit is it subject to the same reasonableness tests that would apply to deductions for actual damage. In other words can we challenge it in the same way?


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