Frequently asked questions

Why use IMO


IMO was launched in 2005 giving us extensive knowledge and experience in the field of inventories and over 30 years combined experience within the company of the property industry Here are the top 3 reasons: 1. IMO launched the UK’s first online system enabling Agents and Landlords to view their reports and photos anywhere, anytime by simply using a secure password log-in. This service removed the hassle of having to find old paper copies or emails as well as providing a virtual back up function 2. Our network of trained Inventory Assessors are all trained using our in house creation: The Training Lab and use the same industry acclaimed templates so reports retain consistency and can be updated with ease 3. The quality of our reports has meant that any disputes that have arisen between Landlord and Tenant have been quickly and easily resolved




What is an inventory


An Inventory is an accurate and detailed description of every item within a property to include all fixtures, fittings, furniture and appliances. The Inventory will comment with regards to the decorative state and cleanliness of each item. Then where applicable, further comments will be made as to where there are any damages or deficiencies to those items and whether they are in working order. Digital photographs of all rooms and the noted damages are then taken as visual evidence.




What is a check out


A Check Out is relevant to the end of any tenancy During the Check Out, the reports compiled from the previous check in will be checked through and all changes will be noted with culpability assigned - whether this is to the Tenant, Landlord or deemed as fair wear and tear. At the end of the appointment we will have the information necessary to compile a comprehensive check out report with guidance for the Landlord, Letting Agent and Tenant where relevant Digital photographs of any changes will be taken Final meter readings are taken (where meters are readily accessible) All keys are collected from the Tenant and returned to the Landlord or the Letting Agent as appropriate along with a forwarding address for the outgoing Tenant




What is a check in


A Check In should be carried out at the start of any new tenancy During the Check In, the inventory will be carefully checked through to ensure that all descriptions and related comments are accurate. If we are using our own Inventory report then any necessary additions or amendments will be added so that the report can be updated and produced as a new Inventory. In the event that we have to use an Inventory compiled by another company then we will produce a separate check in report which can then be used in conjunction with the original inventory to provide an up to date reflection of the property at the time of check in. Digital photographs will be taken A Schedule of Condition (summary of the condition of the property) is drawn up Utility meter readings are taken (where meters are readily accessible) Tenants are then sent a PDF copy of the report by email and have 14 days to respond to the report accuracy or with information of any changes made immediately post check in – this is achieved via the use of our online agreement form within our website (tenant email contains a link to the form)




Who are the TDS


The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) came into effect from April 2007 and aims to help both landlords and tenants arrive at an equitable agreement in the event of dispute over a tenant’s deposit. Basically helping to ensure that those tenants who have paid a deposit to a landlord or letting agent and are entitled to receive all or part of it back, actually get it. There are three government authorised schemes currently in effect: A custodial scheme run by the deposit protection service www.depositprotection.com An insurance based scheme operated by Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (a company jointly owned by the National Landlords Association and Hamilton Fraser Insurance Services Ltd) www.mydeposits.co.uk A second insurance based scheme operated by the dispute service www.tds.gb.com




Who does the TDS apply to


The legislation covers virtually all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) contracts which private Landlords let property in England and Wales. However, the following will not need to be registered with a tenancy deposit protection scheme: Resident Landlords (those living in the property), Landlords of properties with rent of over £25,000 a year, Company lets & Student accommodation let directly by universities or colleges




Why is the TDS necessary


The return of a deposit is by no means guaranteed. For example, in 2005/6: 70% were returned in full 19% were returned in part 11% were not returned at all The reasons given by Landlords for withholding some or all of a deposit were: Damage to the property (28%) Cleaning of the property (34%) Unpaid rent or bills (8%) Other reasons (30%) 17% of Tenants who had some or all of a deposit withheld felt hat it had been withheld unjustifiably. The new Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes will ensure all Landlords safeguard the deposits they take, which is in every Landlord's and Tenant’s interest.




What happens if I don't have an inventory


There have been a number of decisions by adjudicators under existing voluntary schemes which show that unless Landlords have a full Inventory, check in (agreed to) and check out, there is little or no chance of a Landlord recovering anything out of the deposit for damage. Likewise, decisions by a District Judge in a County Court small claims have shown that unless the above processes are followed exactly, it is unlikely that the Landlord will be awarded any part of the deposit to make good any damage In cases where an inventory and a check-in (agreed upon) are not carried it is common for a tenant to claim that the damage already existed when the tenancy started. So unless the Landlord has proof of the state of the furniture/property at the beginning in the form of a properly prepared and agreed Inventory/ Schedule of Condition they are unlikely to succeed. Equally, the inventory process must be impartial so as not to have any argument of bias.




What is considered 'fair wear and tear'


Fair Wear and Tear as defined by the House of Lords is “the reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces (i.e. the passage of time)”. For a more detailed explanation with generic examples please click on the following link to launch the inset document. Fair wear and tear link