Length of time renters remain in a property reaching record highs

With the average length of time renters remain in a property reaching record highs, a local lettings agent is reminding both tenants and landlords of the importance of getting a professional inventory prepared.

Latest figures released by professional body the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) show that tenants are now spending an average of 19.3 months in their homes, a dramatic rise of 17% compared with 2009, when average tenancies were just over 16 months.

Dawn Clarke, Director of Shropshire-based Nock Deighton, and ARLA's Regional Representative for Shropshire and Staffordshire, said: This increase in the length of tenancies will inevitably lead to greater wear and tear in rented accommodation, not to mention fewer opportunities for downtime between tenancies for landlords to carry out repairs and improvements.

This is why its absolutely essential to make sure an accurate, professional inventory is prepared at the beginning of each new letting contract, as it can help both tenants and landlords ward off potential disputes over deposit returns later down the line.

As well as recording the contents of the property, Dawn Clarke recommends that the actual condition of these contents and the house in general, including fixtures and fittings is also thoroughly documented.

When drawing up an inventory, its vital to avoid using ambiguous words which may not fully articulate the condition of the contents and features. Its worth taking photos of the property to add to the inventory, which can then be used at a later date to help provide evidence that protects both the tenant and landlord. And its also advisable to include up-to-date utility meter readings to help avoid unnecessary disputes over energy bills too.

While many renters prefer to deal with inventory issues themselves, utilising the expertise of a licensed letting agent can help ensure their tenancy gets off on the right foot. Whether thats checking if an inventory already exists, or preparing a new inventory, they can ensure the entire process is carried out smoothly, Dawn Clarke concluded.

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