Heads up if you use an inventory
I have been reading about inventories and schedules of condition recently and won't bore you all with the detail, but suffice it to say that The legal view presented was that inventories and/or schedules of condition should be properly integrated into the tenancy agreement if you intend to rely on them in a court case. If they are not fully incorporated into the TA then although the courts may accept them as evidence of the contents and condition of the property, they are not obliged to and technically should reject them as the contract makes no reference to them.
I use the standard RLA model AST for all my tenancies and on looking through the current version noted that the only reference to an inventory/schedule of condition is clause 19 - "Pay our reasonable charges including our costsfor preparing and checking any inventory or condition schedule at the beginning and end of the tenancy". I don't make such a charge so routinely cross through this clause anyway.
I wrote to the RLA about this and spoke to one of the staff today. Their view was that as inventories/condition schedules are not used universally by landlords, they have not incorporated them into their model and leave this for landlords to add as an addendum if they wish. In some ways this is fair enough, but I am concerned that this may not be something that can be dealt with simply by adding text as an addendum. In order to be fully incorporated the TA may need to be more fundamentally revised to refer to the inventory in all section dealing with repairs, renewals or damage to the property. This also seems to be an area where the drafting needs to be fairly precise in order to be effective and not something I would attempt to knock-up myself.
I raise this now mainly as a heads-up for others who use the RLA model AST as this is something that you may also want to consider in future. I have looked at the Government's model AST which does have references to the inventory/report of condition fully integrated but its 50 pages long! The things I value about the RLA model are its brevity and clarity but I may have to reconsider using it in future if there is a risk that my very detailed and carefully prepared inventories are going to be rejected if they ever get to court.
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