It’s no secret that some letting agencies are notoriously difficult to deal with and can make moving out of the property at the end of your tenancy challenging, time-consuming and costly. A 2013 report criticised some major letting agencies for not properly disclosing the charges tenants could expect to pay, essentially ‘drip-feeding’ fees, which they claimed was in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. In some instances, agents were found not giving out fee information when specifically asked, or not giving full details.
These vague, unofficial rules over who should pay for the inventory check at the end of a tenancy, as well as regular accusations of spurious charges that have no correlation to the cost of the services carried out, have led to new demands for conclusive legislation in order to suitably protect both tenants and landlords. Being informed of the laws relevant to your situation can only assist a tenant or landlord to a certain point if there are no clear guidelines stipulating that letting agencies must offer up fee information when expressly requested.
Although the cost of using an independent inventory clerk to carry out the check, sometimes referred to as ‘schedule of condition’, can vary based on factors such as size of the property, whether it’s furnished or not, etc., an average estimate is between £100 – £150, so any figure significantly higher is worth looking into and taking up with the company. A professional inventory clerk’s report is a vital legal document if there is any dispute at the end of a tenancy, and can help settle the disagreement quickly and neatly.
In the current economic climate, renting is the only available option for millions of people, and there is also evidence of a noticeable increase in homeowners who find themselves with no other choice than to become landlords as they are unable to sell their property due to the condition of the housing market, so it is more important than ever to have legal protocol in place. The issue of who should pay for the check-out is still divisive, as some regard check-in fees as the responsibility of the landlord and check-out fees the responsibility of the tenant, while others believe it should be vice-versa (as well as a rise in people opting to split the check-out costs 50/50), but it does seem to be agreed that both parties should cover some of the costs.