The Top 5 Ways Photographs Help In A Deposit Dispute

From the inventory to the check in to the check out report. These reports are an incredibly powerful way to provide insurance for the condition of a rented property.

The written descriptions for each aspect of the property are there to build a clear image of the changes to the properties condition throughout the tenancy. Alongside this, descriptions will be supplemented by using photographs taken on that day by the inventory clerk.

Subsequently, It is recommended that the photographs are not the sole provider of evidence provided in a property report. I find this idea can be a bit confusing to some agents, landlords and tenants. You might be thinking…

An image paints a thousand words, right?

You’re not wrong in thinking that, taking some time staring at Grant Wood’s American Gothic can tell you a lot about 1930’s America’s hardworking and industrial culture at the time.

On the contrary, a photo album of a properties condition before and after will certainly give you a clear comparison for some aspects of the property. The trouble is, they just can’t capture everything like the written word. For instance, issues around cleanliness. Have you ever tried to capture a photo of light dust? Probably not… but some of our clerks have, and believe me, it’s not easy to capture unless the lighting’s right.

I might be making photographic evidence sound redundant, but believe me, it’s not

Photographs still have their part to play, and if used correctly, they can build an even stronger, solid body of evidence. If I was to personify this body of evidence, it would have a similar stature of Dwayne Johnson. And I don’t know of many people who wouldn’t want to be protected in a deposit dispute by Mr.DJ!

So, here they are, the Top 5 Benefits of Photographs in a Property Report

  • The Date Stamps; they’re a great way to build even more clarity in the report. By the photos themselves, or the report they’re contained in being date stamped. It is possible for an adjudicator to be more certain that the report was compiled on the said date
  • Scale; By placing an object (eg. Pen or coin) next to a small mark or stain in report photographs, an idea of the scale and size of the mark is highlighted. In turn, this helps landlords, tenants and adjudicators understand the extent of the damage. This also helps landlords determine a cost for the dilapidations and adjudicators decide on a settlement
  • Consistent Photographs; By making sure photos are clear and in focus, both landlords and tenants can clearly see any dilapidations. Where possible, the same angles of photos should be taken at the check out as at the check in. This allows for a direct comparison, making disputes easier to manage because of the consistency in photographs
  • Dilapidations; Photographs of dilapidations clarify whether damages are new or already existing. Additionally, photographs highlight whether the existing dilapidations have deteriorated over the tenancy and to what extent
  • Placing a cost on dilapidations; It can be difficult for property managers to see the property before calculating deductions to the deposit. Hence, using photographs to supplement the written description, the issue is made clearer and you can decide what action to take. The clearer evidence the adjudicator is using in a dispute, the easier it is to decide on a settlement between the landlord and tenant.

Take the two-pronged approach

Inventory, check in or check out using just photographs… you’ve got a bad report

A property report using just the written word… you’ve got a good report.

Get yourself a report using both the written word and photographic evidence… You’ve got a winner.

To see this type of property reporting in action, click here and we’ll send you a sample Inventory Report which will give you a clear picture of what your inventory reports should be providing.

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