Build To Rent

Inventory Reporting

Should you DIY or not?

To help you decide, here are three key considerations:

1. Is this a long-term investment or are you planning to dispose of the development in 2-3 years?

If you are planning to sell the development in a couple of years, then the DIY approach makes sense. If you work with the ‘whole-life cost’ approach to your investment, when you scratch the surface, a false economy reveals itself read more

2. Are tenants central to what you do?

If what tenants think is important to your company ethos, you need to know that less than 10% of tenants recently surveyed, want landlords to carry out their property inspections* …read more

3. Are you aware of upcoming industry changes?

The Government have a clear objective to professionalise the lettings market, read how this aim, may influence your decision …read more

We want the reassurance of knowing our properties and our tenants are getting the best protection possible, we also want a partner that shares our values and is always evolving. That is why we use Letcheck, the AIIC Inventory Company of the Year, 2020. Tracey Hartley, Residential Director

1. Is this a long-term investment or are you planning to dispose of the development in 2-3 years?

When you have a shiny new building, the idea of carrying out a property report seems easy. Everything is new.  There is a sea of software solutions available that market their ‘ease of use’.  So simple that your apprentice or colleague with a bit of spare time can put it together.

The allure of this offering is understandable.

Lots of our clients have been seduced by this simplistic solution to an administrative task, that few people want to spend much time reviewing.

It is when the sheen of the new build starts to fade, that professional reporting starts to come into its own.  The whole-life costing approach looks at the value generated over the life of an asset.

So after many years as a keen observer in the industry, I would like to debunk some myths and detail the most common mistakes, such as:

  • Underestimating the detail required to adequately protect your investment
  • Underestimating the length of time each inspection takes (regardless of how beautiful the software demo looks)
  • Underestimate how valuable independent reports are, to the adjudicators when settling an end of tenancy dispute
  • Not thinking through that when this service is needed most like in the high season, is also when all of your team are also focused on their core tasks
  • Realising that your team lack the skillset, experience or frame of reference to apportion liability at the end of a tenancy
  • Underestimate how long it takes to resolve a dispute without clearly documented evidence from the start and end of the tenancy
  • Underestimating the value of the written word in a dispute, with an over-reliance on photographs that is a secondary not primary, source of evidence
  • Not investing properly in training upfront and ongoing training so you keep up to date, with changing legislation in this area

In summary, investing in the detail at the start; protects you more at the end of the tenancy- when you need it most.

With independent and robust reporting specialists, this investment pays for itself in several ways:

  • Less administration cost and time for your team, so they can focus on their key strengths
  • It is a lean use of resources- you only instruct this service when needed
  • A more efficient end of tenancy process, streamlining what can be, a time-hungry task
  • It’s what tenants want (see point below)

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We look for a service partner that has the experience of taking on large BTR developments, drive industry best practise, can assist our administration team whilst delivering an exceptional and customised tenant experience. This is why Letcheck are our preferred inventory supplier. Lizzie Stevens, Director of Market Rent

2. Are tenants central to what you do?

You want your tenants to feel at home in their new property, happy tenants = longer tenancies and fewer void periods.

When it comes to property inspections, tenants want to feel a sense of privacy and independence.  In our ongoing live survey, we have asked over 500 tenants, consistently less than 10% are comfortable with landlords carrying out these inspections.

Taking the professional approach of employing the services of an independent specialist, demonstrates best practice and further helps to build trust with tenants.

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3. Are you aware of upcoming industry changes?

From the Tenants Fees Act to the current ROPA consultation, a lot is happening in the lettings industry.

The Government have been consistent in their aim to professionalise the lettings market, as tenants become a more significant source of voting power.

The direction of travel is clear; the balance of power between landlord and tenant is rebalancing and initiatives that promote fairness are being adopted.

The idea of landlords carrying out their own property inspections is in direct conflict with Government aims of professionalism, fairness, and transparency.

Investing in a process, such as DIY inventories, that potentially need to be dismantled in the years ahead, does not appear to be a wise strategic decision.

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