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How inventories can help the letting industry evolve

It’s very often the case that time is of the essence when it comes to the lettings industry, but equally it’s hugely important that landlords, letting agents and tenants all adhere to their obligations and the legislation that binds the sector.

To ensure that the sector remains compliant, and grows in a positive, sustainable way, streamlined processes and time-saving efficiencies become vital in helping the letting industry to evolve while keeping standards very high.

Inventories play a crucial role in the smooth running of day-to-day tenancies and will play an even bigger role when planned widespread rental reform comes into force. They can help landlords and letting agents have more time to get on with crucial work and grow their businesses by taking care of the check-in and check-out process and carrying out mid-term inspections to ensure issues are nipped in the bud early or resolved quickly.

Here, we outline three ways in which inventories can help the industry to evolve.

Saving costs

By utilising the services of a professional inventory company who hold themselves to the highest industry standards, landlords and agents can save themselves a lot of money further down the line in potentially costly disputes. If an inventory hasn’t been carried out in the right way, this could make deposit disputes more likely, and also make the chances of getting a deposit back less likely.

What’s more, having a clear, concise, professionally compiled inventory – making abundantly obvious the condition of the property before, during and after a tenancy – will help to prevent or lessen the chances of deposit disputes occurring in the first place, as a clear evidence trail is there to see for all parties.

For landlords and agents, this could mean not having to shell out on costly repairs as the inventory will be able to show who caused the damage. For the tenant, meanwhile, an inventory offers a great body of evidence to turn to if they are accused of causing damage when they know this not to be the case.  

Saving time

High-quality inventories, carried out in the right way, can also help to save time. Whether this is time and energy wasted on deposit disputes, or time carried out making repairs, or the time between tenancies themselves, inventories play a crucial role here.

A fully functioning, streamlined and effective lettings industry requires the smooth turnover of tenancies, and in this respect inventories are the key. A smooth check-out process allows for one set of tenants to move out and another tenants to move in with the minimum of fuss, and without any of those dreaded void periods for landlords and agents.

Resolving problems and preventing stress

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, inventories are there to resolve problems by making clear – with written, video and photographic evidence – who has or hasn’t caused damage, or whether items have gone missing.

A poorly produced inventory report could ignite the start of a negative relationship between the parties involved in a tenancy agreement, and cause problems during the mid-term inspection and the check-out process as well. By contrast, as mentioned above, a professionally compiled inventory can help to keep any problems and disputes at bay.  

If disputes do still arise, then an inventory will hopefully be able to resolve this in a timely manner, leaving landlords and agents with more time to focus on other, more lucrative, areas of your business, and happier tenants.

This also ties in with preventing stress, which will naturally occur where deposit disputes arise and also for landlords and agents if void periods are encountered between tenancies as a result of damage or the requirement for a deep clean.

All of above will enable the market to function in a much smoother fashion and evolve to the next level, where standards are high across the board and disputes kept to a minimum.

Here at the AIIC, it is our mission to ensure proper information and training is provided and that highly skilled inventory clerks are available for landlords and agents to use. This will help to ensure a smooth and happy experience for all parties involved.

For more information, please contact us or search for your local AIIC member clerk now.

You can also download a copy of our Code of Practice and Guidelines for Professional Practice guide here.


Why photography is a vital part of the property industry

When it comes to the property industry, the importance of photographs cannot be overlooked.

Prospective tenants rely on property listing images when deciding whether a property is suitable for them. Photographs also demonstrate deterioration or damage to a rental property at the start, during, and at the end of a tenancy.

Here at the AIIC, we break down why photography is a vital part of the property industry, none more so than the lettings sector.

Images make the decision-making process easier

Images of the home form a large part of online property marketing adverts. They are also one of the first things a prospective buyer will see on a property listing and are therefore highly valuable.

When letting a home, great emphasis should be placed on the images because they make the decision-making process easier for prospective tenants by helping them to identify the attributes of the home online.

According to a study by MoveStreets, property images were the most important aspect of a property listing. Around 79% of buyers revealed that photos were the first thing they analysed when viewing a property online.

As humans are visual beings, images are guaranteed to make any decision-making process less complex.

Images can also help when it comes to preventing deposit disputes in the rental sector. Photographic evidence as part of a detailed inventory can remove any doubt about the original condition of items if a tenant tries to claim no damage has been caused.

Detailed inventories will include a full written report of condition, which is an in-depth documentation of the inside and outside of a home. Contents, appliances, fixtures, and fittings are some examples of what will be included in a professionally put together inventory report.

Before, after and during photos of a rental home can help to provide further clarification of the condition of the property throughout the tenancy, allowing adjudicators to come to a fair decision based on factual evidence.

Professional images get better results

Landlords recognise that professional images for property listings are vital to a successful let. 

Therefore, professional photographers are often relied on to produce quality images that represent the property in a positive light and lead to a vast number of viewings.

We recommend that landlords not only to pay close attention to photography at the letting stage, but that they also understand that images captured during the whole tenancy will help to protect them and the tenant. 

By relying on professional inventory clerks, landlords can better protect their homes and tenants if deposit disputes arise. 

As inventories are their area of expertise, they will know what works best and will be equipped to take reliable images, helping landlords dedicate more time to other tasks.

Professional inventory clerks also know what aspects of the home to photograph. This is especially the case with regards to expensive items such as washing machines, and furniture, in addition to early signs of wear and tear that could be overlooked by a landlord.

Adjudicators do not require studio-quality photography for evidence – however, they do need clear images that are in line with the reports. Inventory clerks are professionally trained to reliably provide these.

As an agent or landlord, you want to protect your investments and establish smooth transitions from one tenant to the next. Here at the AIIC, we are dedicated to promoting the highest possible standards of accuracy and reliability in the inventory process and have been endorsing high levels of professionalism in the inventory business since 1996.

It is our mission to ensure proper information and training is provided and our bank of highly skilled members will provide the best possible service. For more information, please contact us or search for your local AIIC member clerk now.

You can also download a copy of our Code of Practice and Guidelines for Professional Practice guide here.


Revealed – what does it take to become an inventory clerk?

Thorough and detailed inventory checks are vital to the success of the property industry. During a time when the market is buoyant, and regulation is starting to increase, internal processes must be carried out properly to prevent standards from slipping.

By relying on professional inventory clerks to conduct these checks, unwarranted costs can be kept to a limit, and the possibility of deposit disputes can be reduced too.

Here at The AIIC, using our experience as the leading association of dedicated independent inventory clerks, we reveal what it takes to become an inventory clerk.

What does an inventory clerk do?

An independent inventory clerk carries out detailed reports about a property. These record the condition and contents of the property through images and text, before, after and during a tenancy.

Damage and deterioration shown in these reports form solid evidence that helps decide if deductions need to be taken from the deposit.

Inventory clerks are heavily relied upon to conduct these reports to a high standard. These are vital documents that are used to compare the condition of the home at the end of the tenancy with the condition at the beginning. 

Characteristics of a professional inventory clerk 

AIIC professional inventory clerks possess a wide range of characteristics have had to meet specific criteria to become a member of the association and are equipped to do their job to a high standard.

In this sector, nothing must go unnoticed as it could have a damaging effect on the safety and finances of the parties involved.

To become an inventory clerk in the property industry, you will need to be attentive and detailed when conveying information through reports and images. 

Inventory clerks must also perform their tasks in a set timeframe. Therefore, they must be highly efficient throughout the process, but not allow the time constraints to lower their standard of work.

The portfolio of homes that must be visited varies, but they always require good organisational skills, good systems and structure and planning. 

Inventory clerks must also be always alert. In this industry, there are a wide range of homes that must be visited and some homes might be hazardous while others are safe.

The criteria of a successful inventory clerk

Although some individuals may naturally have traits a good inventory clerk requires, getting the appropriate training and meeting the AIIC membership criteria will drastically enhance these. 

By investing time and a small fee in exchange for an inventory training course, you can equip yourself with the necessary skills. We welcome established and inexperienced clerks to learn the tricks of the trade through the courses we offer.

Legal and compliance issues, damage assessments, how to conduct reports in a time efficient manner and more essential information is taught during our training courses.

Furthermore, from a business aspect, these credentials can help to establish a good reputation and form trust with prospective clients.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks is a useful place to look for an inventory clerk, because you can be assured of a level of professionalism. You can find out more here.

As an agent or landlord, you want to protect your investments and establish smooth transitions from one tenant to the next. Here at The AIIC, we are dedicated to promoting the highest possible standards of accuracy and reliability in the inventory process and have been endorsing high levels of professionalism in the inventory business since 1996.

It is our mission to ensure proper information and training is provided and our bank of highly skilled members will provide the best possible service. For more information, please contact us or search for your local AIIC member clerk now.

You can also download a copy of our Code of Practice and Guidelines for Professional Practice guide here.


Mid-term inspections – how and why should they be carried out?

As the name denotes, a mid-term inspection is carried out at the middle of the tenancy. During this process, the landlord’s rental property is visited, and the overall condition of the home is documented through a detailed report. 

These inspections take approximately thirty minutes to conduct – however, depending on the size of the property, the time can vary.

The importance of mid-term inspections

These are vital to see how the tenancy is going, how the tenant is treating the property, and whether any part of the home requires fixing. 

Mid-term inspections prove highly effective in uncovering problems before they escalate. If a tenant has failed to report an issue with the home, a mid-term inspection is an opportunity to keep a record of this and correct it before it gets worse.

Common breaches to tenancy agreements include unauthorised pets being on the premises, despite contracts stating they are not allowed. Subletting or other illegal activity within the home can also be reported if they are revealed during the inspection.

Inspections during the middle of the tenancy are in the best interest of all parties. They protect landlords from getting into trouble if illegal activity is taking place on the premises. They also help to ensure the property is still safe for the tenant.

These visits not only showcase how well the tenant is looking after the property in a transparent way, but they are an opportunity for tenants to share any issues they experience.

Mid-term inspections are an important preventative measure against concerns with the home. Unattended issues often end up being costly if they are not resolved right away. By picking up on these issues through mid-term inspections, hefty fees can be avoided. 

Furthermore, these count as concrete evidence if the property is in bad condition and deposit disputes occur.

The best way to conduct mid-term inspections

We have found that the more vigorous the mid-term inspection, the more they can protect all parties. Therefore, we urge that independent inventory clerks are always appointed to carry these out.

Landlords can conduct these checks themselves, yet without the necessary training and expertise that professional inventory clerks hold, it is unlikely that they will do these to the standard required to avoid unnecessary costs and legal disputes in the future.

An AIIC-vetted inventory clerk with specialist knowledge will have handled so many similar cases in the past and been in business for long that they will not skim over signs of illegal activity or damage that exceeds wear and tear.  

Independent inventory clerks have sufficient training under their belt that allows them to provide an unbiased report to protect the landlord. 

The mid-term report includes photographs and text that detail the condition of all areas such as the contents within the home, fittings, walls, windows, floors, doors, and exteriors. Breaches of the tenancy agreement and maintenance will be noted too. 

As an agent or landlord, you want to protect your investments and establish smooth transitions from one tenant to the next. Here at AIIC, we are dedicated to promoting the highest possible standards of accuracy and reliability in the inventory process and have been endorsing high levels of professionalism in the inventory business since 1996.

It is our mission to ensure proper information and training is provided and our bank of highly skilled members will provide the best possible service. For more information, please contact us or search for your local AIIC member clerk now.

You can also download a copy of our Code of Practice and Guidelines for Professional Practice guide here.


Inspection photos and GDPR

Do you consider GDPR implications when taking photos at mid term inspections?

Tenants have the right to private enjoyment of the property they are renting.  The landlord or their representative are entitled to inspect the property at regular intervals, however the tenant can object to photographs being taken which include their personal belongings, photographs or items that could identify them. 

This creates a dilemma when it comes to inventory clerks carrying out mid term inspections.  Should you take room overview photos or not?  The simple answer is you need to ask the tenant for consent.  As long as consent is obtained in writing there should be no GDPR issues. 

When contacting a tenant to arrange a mid term inspection, it is good practice for the inventory clerk to ask them if they consent to room overview photographs being taken.  These photographs should only be shared with the parties relevant to the tenancy, such as the landlord, managing agent or tenant and should not be used for marketing purposes or shared on the internet. 

The AIIC recommends that our inventory clerks should always explain the procedure to the tenants upon arrival and ask them if there are any issues they would like noted on the mid term inspection report. Remember to explain that mid term inspections can protect all parties and help to avoid any issues with the deposit return.

If a tenant objects to photographs being taken, we suggest that the clerk only takes photos of smoke/heat/carbon monoxide alarms and any specific issues, i.e. leaks, black spotting etc with the tenant’s consent.  The clerk should provide a full written report detailing the condition rather than relying on illustrative photographs.

In any event, when taking photos of occupied properties, be sensitive and try to avoid the tenant’s belongings and family photos or paperwork lying around.  The purpose of the photos is to illustrate how the property is being kept, ensure there are no breaches in the tenancy occurring and check that there are no maintenance issues that have not been reported.


Revealed – how landlords can keep their tenants safe 

The safety of tenants has always been a top priority for landlords, yet the growing number of rules and regulations surrounding the UK property market will help to set the standards even higher.

This calls for landlords to pay closer attention to the homes they let. Landlords who plan accordingly are the most likely to keep tenants safe and remain fully compliant.

Over the years, we have found that inventories are a reliable way to keep tenants safe throughout the whole duration of the tenancy.

Leave the checks to the professionals

Regular checks form a vast chunk of the process of letting a home. From electricity to furniture, various elements that make up the home contribute to the overall safety of tenants.

Professionals will do the best job at ensuring the home is fit for human habitation. Professional inventory clerks contribute to the safety of tenants as they provide a service that aims to prevent danger from arising.

With over 150 pieces of legislation to comply with, the workload of landlords is already high, which means they are not in the position to put the necessary amount of time into checks. 

Professional inventory checks are carried out with a certain level of care and attention as their knowledge spans great lengths and means they have the expertise to provide the best service.

In the property industry, precision and accuracy of checks such as inventories are necessary to safeguard the tenant and the landlord. Independent professionals are also likely to be equipped with the very best technology and software to increase accuracy.

During a mid-term inspection, a record of the condition of the rental property is made during the visit. These are essential for the safety of the tenants because they uncover issues during the tenancy.

Professional inventory clerks are trained to not only look out for problems that already exist, but they look for signs of potential issues that could otherwise get ignored.

If risk or danger is observed while present at the property it should be acknowledged right away and safeguarding assessments must be conducted.

Professionals are far more likely to easily recognise these and follow the correct procedures if danger is present. Whereas a non-professional might not understand the severity and let this issue worsen.

The more detail, the more protection 

If certain parts of the home have not been covered in the inventory report, it means that the inventory is not useful evidence. In our experience, we have found that the more detailed the inventory, the more protected tenants are. 

TheDecent Homes Standard was previously only for social housing but landlords operating in the private rented sector will need to adhere to this in the future, too. This impending change proves more focus is being placed on these properties, therefore landlords need to properly protect themselves and tenants to remain compliant.  

Inventory reports are composed of vital bits of information that showcase the overall status of the property. Without these, it is easy for lines to get blurred and confusion to occur if issues do arise. 

Remember to keep track of information conforming when installations, tests, repairs, and maintenance took place to show that these legal requirements have been carried out.

It is easy to just focus on the check-in and check-out, but evidence throughout the tenancy is required as a lot can change during this time and otherwise could put tenants in harm’s way.

Landlords can also protect tenants by educating them on how to use systems and appliances. This is a great way to prevent potential issues from arising. Including key information that all tenants should know about the property in a tenant information pack will keep occupants safe if any instances occur.

Industry standards have always been important, but it’s important that complacency doesn’t creep in. Landlords should use inventories to keep on top of their properties, be compliant and most importantly keep their tenants safe. 

Here at the AIIC, we aim to ensure that every landlord, tenant, and agent in the UK is aware of the importance of the inventory process and the benefits of employing an independent, professional independent inventory clerk. You can find out more here.


How inventories can help keep mould and damp at bay

Landlords have a duty of care when it comes to housing tenants in safe conditions. For this reason, preventative measures that help to keep mound and damp at bay must be put in place to safeguard all parties.

Inventories can provide a reliable record if mould and damp are present in a rental property. This is because they make it easy to spot the issue before it emerges or make it clear that it was a pre-existing issue.

Making independent inventories part of all tenancies can significantly reduce the number of issues caused by damp and mould.

How damp and mould can affect health

Recent statistics show that 26% of all renters are affected by damp and mould. This is the equivalent of 3.8 million UK adults.

We recognise that damp and mould are common issues in the rental sector, yet the harmful effects can be prevented with the right evidence.

Damp and mould appear in buildings because of too much moisture. Damage to roofs, pipes or window frames can cause the issue, which is why regular inspections to these areas is required.

Rising damp can also occur through too much moisture in the air. Failure to air out rooms or use extractors in warm rooms can cause this to form.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), simply breathing in or touching mould can cause allergic reactions.

Less severe reactions to damp and mould include sneezing or a runny nose, while red eyes, skin rash, asthma attacks and long term breathing problems are more detrimental health problems it can cause.

Seek professional Inventory clerks only

Professional inspectors and inventory clerks understand that mould usually builds up over time and they know which factors to look out for during these checks.

Independent inventory clerks carry out reports and checks in a vigorous way because they are trained to a high level.

An impartial and professional inventory will help to identify what caused damp or mould to grow. These finer details are necessary to prevent issues from occurring again.

Mould is an issue best resolved at an early stage as this is when it is the least harmful and most inexpensive to treat.

Hiring an independent inventory clerk will protect tenants from being put in a potential toxic environment while it will also stop landlords from bearing extreme costs at a later stage.

If an independent inventory clerk is hired, the check in and check out processes will run far smoother as factual images and information will provide a timeline of the condition of the home.

If mould or damp is present, tenants and landlords will have a strong case only if professional inventories are used.

Identify who is responsible with inventories

Every year thousands of pounds get wasted on legal cases where there is trouble identifying who caused an issue with a rental property.

If the tenant is the culprit, this figure is then deducted from the initial deposit before being returned while if it is the landlord, the tenant should be compensated.

Damp that is produced because of structural issues is the landlord’s responsibility. Yet damp that is formed because of lack of ventilation, by not opening windows or by drying clothes indoors, is caused by the tenant.

We understand that inventories alone are not enough to stop this issue from occurring. However, inventories are an important part of the lettings process, and they are proven to be particularly useful as a preventative measure.


Landlords, what counts as fair wear and tear?

A clear understanding of what landlords identify as fair wear and tear is essential for the smooth running of every tenancy.

Tenants and landlords can save on cost and time by being able to identify this. While confusion over the matter can cause disagreements to arise.

We are advocates of inventories and these are proven to be especially important when distinguishing between damage and wear and tear.

What is the difference between wear and tear and damage?

Fair wear and tear refers to items or areas of the home that are deteriorating. This can happen as a result of regular use or the quality fading over time. 

Landlords should understand that items and parts of the home are prone to decrease in quality as time goes by, yet putting the right processes in place can help distinguish between damage and fair wear and tear.

Tenants renting furnished properties are more likely to have more items to account for compared to those renting an unfurnished home. Nonetheless, all types of rental properties are subject to damage and wear and tear, therefore, the same amount of precautionary measures should be taken regardless. Landlords should also take into account that if the tenant provides their own furniture, there may be some wear caused by normal usage of the furniture or reasonable marks from moving items in and out of a property.

Examples of what counts as fair wear and tear include – but are not limited to – minor scuffs, reasonable wear to worn carpets and loose fixtures caused by normal use of the items.

On the other hand, examples of what counts as damage could be drawings all over the walls, a heavily stained carpet that requires replacing, and broken items (depending on their original condition and life expectancy).

With these examples, we can see there is a clear difference between the condition of a home that naturally degrades and abnormal damage.

Reasonably lived in homes and used items result in fair wear and tear. These are inevitable and should an item deteriorate or break as a result they therefore require the landlord to fix them at no fault of the tenant. Meanwhile, unreasonable damage gives landlords the authority to claim from the deposit.

How can all parties remain protected?

We recognise that when letting a home anything is possible, but inventories can help protect all parties throughout the tenancy. 

Currently, inventories are not yet a legal requirement. However, we are adamant that landlords who keep a safe detailed record of the condition of the tenanted properties at the start and end of a let through high-quality inventory reports are the least at risk. 

 

Every year thousands of pounds get wasted in the lettings industry. It is in the landlord’s interest to have an inventory completed as this also increases the chance of them receiving the right amount of money from the deposit if issues arise. 

If any damage beyond fair wear and tear does occur, this can easily be identified with the use of inventories as they provide the adjudicators with concrete evidence that supports claims and safeguards all parties.

The tenant is also protected by the inventory report and they should not be charged for something that is reasonable wear and tear.

Hiring independent inventory clerks for check-ins and check-outs will ensure the inventories are meticulously detailed. In the lettings industry the more detailed the inventory report, the better the outcome.

When the property is returned there is no guarantee that it will be in the same order as when it was let, but landlords must make what does and does not count as fair wear and tear far simpler to identify by making inventories a compulsory part of the letting process.


Rental reform – here’s why it will make inventories more vital than ever

The impending changes to the rental sector, set out under the initial Renters’ Reform Bill and then the Levelling Up White Paper, and expected to be fleshed out in the long-awaited White Paper on Rental Reforms (anticipated to be released this spring, but now potentially being delayed again until autumn), are aiming to change the market for the better. But they have also proved divisive.  

The primary proposals include the abolition of Section 21 as well as the potential introduction of lifetime deposits, the implementation of a landlords register, ensuring all homes meet a Decent Standard and further steps designed to clamp down on rogue landlords

To make these changes manageable and strengthen the confidence of all parties involved, inventories can be relied on as evidence that can make these upcoming changes far easier to comply with. 

Independent inventories must not be overlooked

Rental reform changes show that reliable practices need to be put in place to prevent letting agents and landlords from bearing the brunt of unnecessary costs and losses. 

To this end, inventories demonstrate the condition, cleanliness, and contents of a property during the beginning and the end of a tenancy, including specific evidence about fixtures and fittings, décor, furniture, and the overall condition of the items included in a rental home. This is logged in the form of written, video and photographic proof.

At the end of the tenancy, comparisons of the home at the beginning are made with it at the end, to understand whether the tenant is liable for any expenses, which are deducted from the initial deposit. 

Inventories can be conducted by landlords, letting agents or independent inventory clerks, but insufficiently completed inventories could be as bad as not having one at all, as too little information is worthless when it comes to proving the condition of a home.

An independent, unbiased inventory, though, is less likely to miss out on vital details and generate a fair and unbiased outcome. 

Having all this key information at your fingertips means letting agents and landlords can decrease the chances of needing to evict at a later date, as the likelihood of disputes will be lessened. Additionally, inventories will help to ensure that homes meet a Decent Standard before being let out, and will no doubt play a key part in any lifetime deposit system as well.

Abolition of Section 21 means core evidence is vital

With rental reform set to remove Section 21, it could be harder for landlords to evict, but by having a good inventory in place to begin with, the likelihood of disputes is lowered. This, in turn, makes evictions less likely. 

The abolition of Section 21 is likely to make the eviction process harder for landlords, as it could grant tenants the right to stay in a property unless they breach their tenancy agreement. There are proposals for beefed-up Section 8 notices to replace Section 21, but many in the industry have complained that these notices are much less effective and much more of a blunt tool.

To lower the chances of needing to use any eviction notice at all, letting agents and landlords must put effective measures in place to protect themselves. Inventories are one big solution as they safeguard, provide core evidence, and improve transparency. 

Inventories are based on facts only, making them form vital evidence that ultimately results in a fair decision. Issues with the home that existed before moving in can be proven by tenants wanting to file a complaint. Meanwhile, landlords and letting agents can use inventories to disprove untruthful claims. 

Overall, this vital piece of evidence will increase the confidence of tenants, landlords, and letting agents during the let or in a court of law if deposit disputes occur.

Lifetime deposits need to be supported by inventories

The White Paper on Rental Reform, which still doesn’t have a publication date, should further explain the introduction of lifetime deposits. This process, if implemented, could mean that tenants can move house without transferring the new deposit to the new landlord as the previous deposit is already included. 

Although this sounds simple, there is room for inaccuracies to occur, particularly as not all deposits get returned to the tenant (not always in full, at least). 

The deposit is only returned if sufficient evidence proves that there are no issues with the home while landlords are only given the funds if enough proof justifies that the tenant caused damage. 

It is likely that any lifetime deposit system will need to work alongside inventories to ensure that any deductions as required can still be made, even as deposits move more easily from tenancy to tenancy. 

For the moment, we’re still dealing in hypotheticals and speculation – so we all have to cross our fingers that the White Paper on Rental Reform finally sees the light of the day soon. That way the whole industry will have a much clearer idea of its future direction.

Here at the AIIC, our aim is to ensure that every landlord, tenant and agent in the UK is aware of the importance of the inventory process and the benefits of employing an independent, professional independent inventory clerk. You can find out more here.


The impact housing minister changes have on the property sector

Housing ministers have a direct impact on housing policy in both sales and lettings. By being more stable and long-term, they can help the property industry function in a much better way.

Which is why the constant merry-go-round of ministers we’ve witnessed in recent decades has been so frustrating.

On February 8 2022, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Stuart Andrew as the new housing minister in a mini reshuffle, while former housing minister Chris Pincher became Deputy Chief Whip.

This makes Andrew the 11th different UK housing minister in the short span of only 12 years. In addition to this, Andrew is also the 18th different minister (both Conservative and Labour) to be granted this position since 2001.

Housing ministers should be stable

Constant change not only takes time to adjust to, but in many circumstances such as business, it often implies that things are not going to plan. 

The speed that housing ministers are entering and leaving their role works out as nearly one new minister every 12 months. Surely, changing the housing minister so often cannot be progressive or effective when trying to reach important goals? 

Having a stable, continuous minister who is treasured could help save time and speed up the process of implementing changes that will benefit both the lettings and sales markets. 

Various recent factors including Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, Right to Rent changes, the cost of living crisis and more mean that now is the time, more than ever, that the UK property industry is reliant on the housing minister for guidance and support. 

Like all roles, the longer anyone partakes and puts into this, the more of an expert they are likely to become. If ministers have little or no experience in the industry, it is unlikely they will generate the best results.

For the UK lettings and sales industry, the housing minister is effectively the main spokesperson and representative for the property industry. They are the conduit between the industry and the government. For this reason, they should hold a long-term position so that they can be trusted and do the best possible job.

Failure to deliver promises

The recommendations put forward by the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working group have still not been achieved despite cross-party support for most of the suggestions that were made.

Additionally, reform to the private rental sector (PRS) is taking a long time to come into action. 

Legislative change is by no means simple, yet time spent on changing ministers is likely to distract from proper planning that is needed to action real change and keep promises.

Instead of headlining government policies to meet current political needs and accumulate voters, housing strategies for the future must be planned according to real need and then appropriately implemented.

Housing is a basic right, and housing ministers must do all they can to ensure this is being met. If less time was spent on replacing ministers and more time was spent focusing on the crux of the issues in the industry and resolving these, we would be miles further ahead than we are.

Having a clear vision for housing and renting in this country begins by maintaining and prioritising having a long-term, stable and secure minister who is an expert in the field. We have to hope Stuart Andrew lasts a little longer than his predecessors.