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Regulation for Inventory Clerks

Being an inventory clerk has always been seen to many as a less than professional service. This is no surprise, it seems since the start of time, the role or job of an inventory clerk has been perceived as something your ‘aunt Jane’ would do for ‘pin money’.

I can understand this view, a view still given by people calling our office enquiring about the service we offer. It seems ‘inventory clerking’ has been regarded as a ‘potting shed’ industry. Something completed by quirky people on the fringes of the lettings domain.

The job, role or even profession is about to change, we believe. Regulation is on its way for agents as we now know, and if what we believe APIP (the Association Of Professional Inventory Providers) are about to introduce, then it may be on its way for inventory clerks.

Despite the growing number of inventory clerks and inventory clerk training courses available, there is still no recognised system of how inventories and their related reports should be compiled. We at train all of our clerks to work to a system that we believe to be the best; others may disagree as we might theirs. Either way, there must be an accepted method, system or format, even if it’s only to help TDS adjudicators decide on whether landlord claims are valid or not.

Whatever the outcome, whether there is to be a common system or not, one thing counts which is no different from any other service, that is the customer has to trust that their inventory service is not only the best available but is also good value and can be relied upon should a dispute occur.

We know that rarely are inventories studied by landlords or their agents, in fact tenants whose deposit may rest on the quality of the inventory are worse. You’d think that if your £1000.00 deposit may or may not be returned based on your scrutiny of the inventory, you’d pay attention to its accuracy. But many, if not most, don’t.

We are told by some agents they cannot get landlords to pay for an inventory. But surely, if the tenant is on an AST and the deposit held, then there must be an inventory. Even if the landlord produces one themselves, there must be evidence, evidence which the tenant can agree to in relation to their deposit being held.

To sell the service requires a cultural shift in attitude we think. We all hear that landlords are already being penalised with the need for EPCs and gas certificates, but sadly to allow them to rent without an inventory is poor advice.

It is not good enough to suggest a landlord does not need one, as one agent I spoke to told me. How can a claim be upheld without? The TDS is an ‘evidence based scheme’. There must be some form of inventory, surely.

If anyone would like more information about what is needed, in what format and what detail, then please contact us through our website.

Jonathan Senior