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Yesterday, 2 weeks after the tenants moved in, we received copies of the inventory to sign and return.

The agent had listed room by room, with accompanying photos. There was no mention of the specific condition of anything, except for the carpet in one of the bedrooms which is brand new.

The inventory is dated 24th November - the day before the tenants moved in.

However, on the last blank page of the inventory, the tenant has added her own observations - in particular that there is a large damp patch on the lounge ceiling and splashes down the wall. Of course, this is the damage caused by the bathroom leak and would only have been there since the 3rd December.

My questions are:

Can an inventory also be a description of condition - and if so, does it need more detail than simply stating that one carpet was brand new?

Should an inventory only detail the state of the property as it was on the day the tenant moved in, ie is it wrong that the tenant has listed subsequent damage?

We are reluctant to sign the inventory as it has been presented, as the agent hasn't described condition and the tenant has noted the condition of something that only happened after the tenancy started.

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A inventory is used to compare the condition when the tenants move out. Compiling a good inventory is not a precise science and not as easy as some might think. I see nothing wrong with the water stains being added unless you are planning to reclaim the cost from the tenant.

Some inventories will state somewhere something on the lines of "all items/areas etc are considered to be in good condition unless stated otherwise)

We do our inventories in house and can be between 30-70 pages long with 50% photos it has a amendment sheet for the tenants add anything we may has missed which we will have to countersign. They also sign a disclaimer at the time of contract signing stating that if they don't return the signed inventory within 48 hrs they wont get the chance to amend and they agree to the original.

We don't charge for inventories and our T&C's state the in house one is on a basic one and we can arrange for a professionally drawn up one by an independent company if required.

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Thanks Grampa.

That's my point - the water stains weren't there when the inventory was compiled, and anyone looking at the inventory now would think that they were. Also, while we are still trying to establish who's to blame for the leak, the question of who pays for the damage is still unresolved.

We have no way of knowing when the inventory was issued to the tenants, and therefore no way of knowing if the inventory was returned by them within the permitted time. Are there guidelines as to how soon after they moved in the tenants should have seen the inventory? Obviously, going on the timescale of the leak, it appears that the tenants didn't return the inventory until at least 10 days after they moved in.

Finally, the inventory doesn't appear to have been signed by the tenants anywhere - the sheet with added comments is hand written, but not dated or signed and has nothing to say who's added it.

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Oh don't worry - we are parting company all right!!

The concern I have (and maybe I'm wrong?) is that the tenants' agreement will be dated from 25/11, regardless of who is acting as agent, so presumably the inventory has to stand from that date?

Also, I am trying to build a full picture of just how badly wrong the agents have been in carrying out their duties, so that I can take the whole complaint to trading standards and put the whole picture down in writing to the agent to explain.

Incidentaly, the director has emailed this afternoon, in response to us mailing him, asking him to explain exaclty why he hasn't protected the deposit and told us that it was the DPS' responsibility to inform the tenants of the details. Once again, he has tried to wriggle out of it, suggesting that we were talking at cross-purposes and that the deposit has been paid in by BACS (I've checked the DPS site agsin today and it still says "unprotected").

Seemingly, as you rightly say, Richlist, there is not one single part of the process that has been carried out correctly by the agents. It's shocking.

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