Inventory Reports Greater London | Providing defensible evidence during tenancy disputes

When it comes to tenancy disputes over deposits, adjudicators are not biased toward the landlord or the tenant. However, since the deposit does belong to the tenant, it is up the landlord to provide sound evidence to prove that he has suffered a loss due to the tenant not meeting his obligations as stipulated in the tenancy agreement.

Apart from the tenancy agreement itself, one of the most important pieces of evidence that can be provided (if the dispute in any way relates to the condition of the property or its contents) is a comprehensive inventory report. And while an adjudicator will not dismiss any inventory report out of hand, a report drawn up by an independent inventory clerk will carry far more weight than one drawn up by the landlord, the tenant, or an affiliate of either.

Don’t rely on images!
Photographs may seem like a logical approach in terms of providing evidence in a dispute. However, considering the fact that disputes are unforeseen, it’s not normal practice (nor is it practical) to take a full set of images of the property at the start of the tenancy – particularly with the amount of detail that might be required to support a claim. Without a “before”, there is no “before and after”, and therefore no point of reference from which to compare and establish whether there has been damage, excessive wear and tear, etc.

Where detailed “before and after” images are available, they are only admissible if dated and signed by both parties. The images must also be supported by a narrative, placing the images in context and specifically pointing out the issue/s.

Only submit videos if absolutely necessary
Should you feel it imperative to submit a video as evidence, ensure that the adjudicator only has to watch the relevant section and not minutes or even hours of footage, as this is simply a waste of valuable time. Be sure to draw the adjudicator’s attention to the issue at hand to ensure that he or she does not miss the point of the video. And never assume that the adjudicator will have the necessary software available for video playback, as your evidence might actually be rendered useless.

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