We visited a property in Croydon for a check-out. We hadn’t done the check-in, but the landlord assured us he would bring a hard copy of the inventory with him.

When we got there, we met the landlord and a locksmith, and discovered that the outgoing tenant had padlocked the front door. To make matters worse, we couldn’t get access until the bailiff arrived. The bailiff duly gave permission for the locksmith to break the padlock and when we got in we were all shocked at the damage and destruction that had been done.

The place was a mess, but the inventory, which consisted of just two A4 sheets of paper with brief descriptions of the fixtures and fittings made no mention of their condition. We constructed the check-out report noting any changes but because the inventory was sparse and not carried out by an independent company, the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) or DPS (Deposit Protection Service) would have to rule in favour of the tenant and return the deposit despite all the damage and cleaning issues. It may not be fair, but it’s the law.

It’s a false economy for landlords to attempt an inventory themselves and risk having to pay out fortunes if a tenant trashes their property.