Is my unsigned Inventory still valid?
As a Landlord or Agent, it is standard practice to issue a copy of the Inventory report to the tenant at the start of the tenancy. This is usually done digitally, via email or hard copy. This gives the tenant the opportunity to review, give feedback and accept the document as an accurate record of the properties condition on the date they moved in.
It is standard practice for the Inventory Inspector to conduct a face to face check-in with the tenant to ensure they receive a run down of the inspection report and are made aware of existing damages and defects within the property. In this case, the report is signed after the check-in and issued to all parties minimal intervention is required after this point.
When the tenant is not present for the check-in, the question at hand is:
'Is my unsigned Inventory still valid?'
There are a number of scenarios which may lead to the tenant not signing the inventory report:
Tenants have moved in, have received the report via email but haven't had the chance to review.
Tenants have received the report via email but have chosen not to acknowledge it.
Tenants aren't happy with the contents of the report.
You do not have a digital signing facility to enable a signature
If scenario 1 and 2 applies, it is important to keep a record of the e-mail chain to evidence that the report has been issued via e-mail and tenants have been given the opportunity to provide feedback within the specified review period. If the report is not signed and feedback is not received within the review period, it can be concluded that the tenant accepts the contents of the report as is and has no comment or dispute with it's accuracy. The report therefore remains valid without a signature as it can be proven that it was issued via e-mail and the tenant was given the opportunity to review the report within a reasonable timeframe.
If scenario 3 applies, the tenant will need to provide their own comments and feedback within the specified review period. It's important to make all parties aware that the report was created impartially and is intended to support both tenant and landlord in evidencing the properties condition to avoid future disputes. Once feedback has been received, the document is finalised via e-mail confirmation and remains valid without a signature.
In conclusion, the absence of a signature does not invalidate the inventory providing
best practice is followed when issuing reports
the report is shared with all parties named on the assured shorthold tenancy agreement.