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Inventories - What If The Letting Agent Doesn't Do One?

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Has anyone ever had a letting agent not do an inventory when moving in and it come back badly on them?

My last LL took control of the contract once everything had been signed at the LA's and didn't bother with an inventory as she was really relaxed and lived on the premises, and we got our deposit back no problems. I now realise that this is a rare thing.

If my new LA doesn't do an inventory upon moving in, would that be their problem and I'd get the deposit back because they can't prove anything has changed, or would it be bad for us as we can't prove it was like that to begin with?

I'll request one done, take photos etc on the day of course, but just curious to know if anyone has ever had this experience?

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Generally I understand this is in your favour. They are expensive so you are better just to do one yourself and send it to them.

A friend of mine damaged the ceiling of a kitchen due to no extractor and had a couple of other issues and the tenancy mediator couldn't help as there were no photos.

So if you can take clear time stamped photos before doing any damage at least you will have a benchmark.

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The good news about no inventory is that legally they have no record so you could theoretically trash the place and theres not much they can do.

The bad news is that this is a strong sign that the landlord and/or agent are utterly incompetent and will probably fail at other basic elements of being a landlord (such as doing repairs) at a minimum you can expect them to try and pull a fast one when you eventually move out.

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If there is anything to contest with the deposit, the lack of inventory will count in your favour. Do your own inventory, if the landlord comes back with anything they will have a hard time proving that it happened while you were resident to the property and didn't happen after you vacated.

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Where the tenancy agreement imposes repairing obligations on the tenant then the obligations are as set out in the agreement, subject to the following:

1. No obligation can be imposed on the tenant which statute imposes on the landlord.

2. Section 18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 The general effect of the section is that a landlord's damages for breach of a repairing covenant cannot exceed the decrease in value of the property caused by the lack of repair

3. The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations The Regulations do not refer to repairs as such, but any obligation which requires the property to be left in a condition which does not allow for fair wear and tear is likely to be held to be unfair.

4. The rule that the obligation must be interpreted having regard to factors such as the age of the property, its location, its general condition at the start of the tenancy and the use to which the tenant puts it. This means that two identically worded repairing covenants can have different effects according to circumstances.

If the tenant's repairing obligation is unqualified then, subject to the above, the obligation is as set out. Thus an obligation to keep the property in good repair and decorative order means just that. Whilst point 4 above applies, it is not implied that there is no obligation to leave the property in any any better state than at the beginning of the tenancy.

If the obligation is qualified by reference to a schedule of condition, precisely what the tenant's obligations are depends on what the agreement says. Standard wording would be something like: "provided that the tenant is not under any obligation to leave the property in any better condition than that recorded in the schedule of condition attached". A schedule of condition is a shield and not a sword, as can be illustrated by the (slightly ridiculous) case of the half rotten door. If the schedule records that the door to the broom cupboard is half rotten and the door becomes wholly rotten, the tenant is effectively required to find a new door because it is impractical to replace the fully rotten door with a half rotten door. The proper protection for the tenant would have been to exclude the cupboard door from the repairing obligation altogether.

If the obligation is qualified by reference to a schedule of condition, but no such schedule is prepared, it is arguable that the repairing obligation is unenforceable because what repairs are required cannot be assessed.

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