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Major high street agent using ‘biased’ check out reports to make money, it is claimed

Inventories trade body says it is compiling a dossier for the Ministry of Housing including proof that the practice is becoming more and more widespread.

Nigel Lewis

inventories

The UK’s inventories trade body, the AIIC, has revealed that the tenant fees ban is beginning to undermine the integrity of the check-in and check-out process within the private rental market and that the Ministry of Housing is become concerned as asked for evidence to be gathered.

Danny Zane, Chair of the The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (The AIIC) says his members have begun to see ‘more and more’ evidence of biased inventory reports being used by letting agents to give them the edge during difficult check-outs, and help generate income by doing inventories themselves and charging landlords for the service, rather than using third party suppliers.

“The temptation is that agents who do their own inventories are likely to favour the landlord in any subsequent disputes,” says Zane.

The Negotiator has also been told that the AIIC is compiling evidence against a well-known high street agent who has an interest in a leading inventory service but doesn’t disclose this to tenants.

For this reason the AIIC has welcomed yesterday’s announcement by Hamilton Fraser that its new ‘alternative deposits’ service Ome will mandate that inventories are carried out by third parties independent of the landlord or letting agent.

Mandatory independence

The association has also called for the government to introduce mandatory independent inventory service provision within the lettings industry.

danny zane inventoriesZane says he has been asked by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to look into the problem of biased inventories being used by agents and landlords to control the check-ins and check-outs.

“We have been talking to one deposit scheme that acknowledges that reporting should be left to a third party, but I feel we are some way off this being stated until the MHCLG acts on requiring reporting to be mandatory via a fair and independent third party,” says Zane.

“Hamilton Fraser are an amazing market disrupter with this launch, and we are all very excited about Ome.

“This is an independent service with its own adjudication service that will require evidence based reporting at both the start and end of a tenancy agreement. This feels like the start of the future in the private rented sector.”

November 29, 2019

2 comments

  1. So one agent does that and the whole industry needs government intervention (like there isn’t enough) does it to prop up yet another association. It probably accounts for 0.00001% of inventories drawn up, if it even exists and the tenant can amend it if they wish anyway, even after check-in! by way of email and photo if needs be…

  2. It’s open season on Letting Agents at present and I am fed up of it. Of course there is no reason why they would be saying this like its a “great business opportunity for us”. Sadly the only people the government seem to not listen to are those of us delivering a good service at reasonable cost.
    I for one am not biased and have a comment from TPO to back this up, so rather than once again add to landlords costs (we don’t charge for inventories on managed properties) why don’t we just tackle those who are guilty.
    My inventories have sufficient embedded photos to protect the tenant and landlord alike on both move in and move out and are frankly better than those I have seen from independents and in 17 years not had a complaint about them being biased.

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