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Landlords of rental properties should combine property photography with more traditional paperwork if they want to create an effective inventory system.

Using a combination of property photography and traditional record keeping is a great way for renters, landlords and lettings managers to ensure that the true condition of a rental is documented at the start and finish of a tenancy.

Property Photos Create a Visual Reference for Tenants and Landlords

While it is important that landlords or letting agents carry out a thorough inventory of a property before any tenancy begins, and for tenants to check the items listed therein, a set of property photos showing the condition of the property should also be created and agreed upon when tenants move in to create a visual reference in the event of any disputes arising.

Combining interior and exterior property images with the tradition list style inventory can help to complete a comprehensive picture of the property condition at the start of a tenancy, which can then be referred back to at the end of the tenancy for comparisons sake.

Landlords Advised to Embed Dates in Digital Inventories

Experts recommend that property photos taken for use in a digital inventory should ideally have dates embedded to avoid dispute, and should be agreed by both parties before being admitted as part of the inventory.

However, no landlord or tenant should rely on property photography alone as a collection of exterior and interior images of homes to rent may not be detailed enough to stand up as evidence in the event of a dispute over the deposit.

Property Photography Inventories are not “Fool Proof”

A recent article on property wire warned that the use of property photos for inventories is not “fool proof, and emphasised that property pictures should not be seen as a shortcut or a substitute for traditional record keeping.

Director of My Property Inventories Danny Zane told the popular property news website that landlords had found themselves losing out in past after relying on photographic records alone, because they can lack in details.

Image Only Inventories Can Create Grey Areas

Recommending that all landlords keep a detailed written record of property condition, he explained that common low level property damage caused by tenants, such as small chips and scratches to areas such as sinks, worktops or halogen hobs would often not be discernible in an image based inventory stating: “There is no point in producing a picture book for an inventory, with very little proper description and hundreds of photographs. Inventories like these just do not provide enough detail.”

Property Photography and Video Have a Place in the Inventory Procedure

However the business owner conceded that there is a place for property photography in the inventory arena, adding: “Photography and video are great for large areas of damage such as carpet burns, serious damage to worktops and interior décor etc.”