Daniel Zane, chair of the AIIC is warning that the upcoming letting fees ban may appear a more positive move for tenants than it will be in reality.
On the 1 June 2019 the letting fees ban is due to become law. Agents and landlords will be banned from charging tenants for a variety of services involved in tenancies, including un-biased inventory reports. While this may seem like a positive move with regards to protecting tenants and their finances, Zane warns that the tenants will ultimately be left more vulnerable.
Un-biased, impartial inventory reports remain the most protective system in place for the tenant’s deposit and its safe return with or without deductions. 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. When a dispute is raised following a tenancy checkout the deposit schemes clearly favour a professional, impartial report not compiled by any party involved in the tenancy.
Zane cautions that un-professional agents and landlords will find new ways to bring in their lost revenue as a result of the fee ban, including opening inventory companies that appear to be a separate business but are not independent, impartial reports.
Zane said, “We have found evidence of some agents purporting to offer independent inventory reports, when really the report is being carried out by the agent under a different name.” Zane is adamant that when tenants believe they are receiving a protective document they must be informed when it has been compiled by and for the agent or landlord, so they can make informed decisions about their tenancies.
The AIIC continues to work hard with relevant government bodies, MP’s and the housing minister to make sure that independent, un-biased inventory reporting becomes mandatory for every signed tenancy.
Zane concludes, “We will carry on working hard to make mandatory un-biased inventory reporting part of the official process in England.”