Monday, 8 November 2010 3:08 PM
Q: "I have just put in an offer on a rented house. The agent has told me that the landlord will decide whether to have the inventory done by a professional or himself – but apparently, even if he hires a professional, I have to foot the bill despite not having a say in the matter. Is this right, and is it worth the added expense of hiring a professional?"
A: "It is generally recommended that inventories are done by independent inventory clerks. It depends on the individual landlord and inventory company but, on the whole, inventory companies have a better understanding of the ‘fair wear and tear’ rule. Landlords (particularly if they are emotionally involved with the property) can sometimes be unrealistic about the cleaning and repair costs that they expect tenants to pay for at the end of the tenancy.
"If an inventory clerk has inspected a property and found it to be in good condition, it will be very hard for a landlord to justify imposing additional cleaning and repair charges for things they have ‘found’ later. When an inventory clerk is used, it is normal for the landlord to pay for the check-in inspection and the tenant to pay for the check-out inspection or vice versa. The landlord should not expect you to pay for both."
Answered by Tessa Shepperson, a solicitor and author who runs the popular Landlord Law website, providing legal information and services to residential landlords and tenants.