How to avoid Deposit Angst with the Reports2Go app
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme provides for a tenant deposit to be held in a secure method either with an approved holder of fund or by the agent themselves backed by approved insurance. The purpose of the deposit is so that the landlord can recover their costs if there is loss or damage to the property or its contents when the tenancy ends. This may be through neglect, misuse, or even deliberate.
The purpose of the deposit is not to cover fair wear and tear. Nothing lasts forever, and this is true of furnishings and appliances in any property. Carpets, cookers, fridges, vacuum cleaners, and so on, all suffer from wear over the years and get to a point where they need replacement. Paintwork fades and needs repainting. Even windows and dressings suffer from wear, although that be slower. All of that is fair wear and tear and it is part of cost that the landlord has to bear and not the tenant.
It is essential that the landlord or their agent prepares a condition report which details the condition of everything in and about the property at the beginning of the tenancy, at check-in, and at check-out when the tenant leaves. The initial report is known as inventory and will also include things such as meter readings, which can be carried out before the tenant arrives. Check-in is usually carried out on the day the tenant arrives and included the process of handing over the keys. It is usually done with the tenant present. Check-in may vary a little from the inventory report in that meter readings can change even though the property is unoccupied, and give and opportunity to revisit items particularly if there has been a bit of an interval between the inventory and check-in.
It is always a good idea to give the tenant an opportunity to read the report in their own time. Sometimes items only come to light when someone tries to use them. For example, there may be a crack in one of the fridge shelves or a kitchen cupboard door may be sticking. The tenant should be given a few days in which to be able to update the report with their comments and observation
Oddly enough, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme rules do not actually require inventory, check-in, or check-out reports! But the TDS does point out that without them it will be very hard to convince an adjudicator – as well as the tenant – that deductions from the deposit are justified, because it will be quite difficult to prove the condition of a property at the beginning of the tenancy without them.
Of course, carrying out inventory and check-in/check-out reports can be very time-consuming for the landlord or his agent, and it is also very easy to miss things. This is why you need the Reports2Go app which will make carrying out inventory so much quicker and will also ensure that you don’t miss anything.
Very simply, you can download the Reports2Go app from Google Play or the App Store to your mobile or tablet. The good news is that it is free to download and use. Instead of taking notes with a clipboard and pad, and using a camera, you can type your notes directly into the mobile or tablet and use the camera to take photos. As you go, the app will give you prompts for each room, reminding you to check the taps in the bathroom, the light fittings, and so on. This is a lot faster than writing everything down by hand. When you have finished the inventory, you then upload everything to your portal on our server and a report will be ready to download a few minutes later.
Alternatively, if you want to get the inventory even faster, you can use the app in audio mode and simply talk into your phone in the same way that you use voice memos. When you have completed the inventory, you then upload to our portal where it will be ready for you to download and transcribe back at the office. Alternatively, for a small fee, our staff will transcribe for you and you will be able to download the report from your portal.
Panos, 19 June 2020
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