An industry body has accused unscrupulous letting agents of setting up front companies to offer tenants ‘independent’ inventory reports which in reality are carried out by the agent managing the property. This will be optional and, because it is a third party completing the inventories, supposedly not treated as a fee charged by a letting agent.
Therefore, this kind of set up can enable agents to side-step the fees ban by recommending to tenants or landlords that they use a local, independent inventory service that they indirectly control and earn fees from.
The allegation is made by Daniel Zane (left), the chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), who says tenants must not be deceived in this way and should be told when an inventory report has been compiled “by and for the agent or landlord”, he says.
“Unbiased, impartial inventory reports remain the most protective system in place for the tenant’s deposit and its safe return with or without deductions,” says Zane.
“The impartiality of these reports are crucial for the protection of tenants and their finances as it is only when carried out by an impartial third party inventory clerk that the report can back up their case against a rogue landlord.”
The AIIC claims letting agents are setting up inventory businesses in a bid to replace the revenues that they will lose after the fees ban is introduced on June 1st.
The association claims that to ensure deposit deductions are administered fairly, the system requires inventory clerks who are independent.
Research published by the government recently revealed that agents charge between £50 and £216 for an inventory check, and that the average is £103, although one unnamed agent was recently revealed to have charged £1,071.