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Jersey Consumer Council

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Renting your Home and Condition Reports

October 23, 2015 Home life, Money Matters No Comments
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Renting your Home Condition Report

Will Condition Reports help solve rental deposit disputes?

Disputes over the partial or non-return of rental deposits have consistently been amongst the most common issues of concern brought to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

It is therefore in order to ensure fairness between landlord and tenant that the introduction of the compulsory use of Condition Reports for landlords and agents who let accommodation under a residential tenancy agreement (‘tenancy agreement’) is so welcomed. But what do both parties need to do?

Details are available on the www.gov.je site at http://www.gov.je/Home/RentingBuying/HousingLaws/Pages/ConditionReports.aspx

However, in brief, a Condition Report is a factual document prepared at the beginning of a tenancy to reflect the condition of the rental property at the time the tenancy agreement is signed. It can then be used at the end of the tenancy as a benchmark with regards the condition of the property by the parties, and indeed if it comes to it, the Court, when making any decision about how deposit money might be returned or compensation for damage claimed.

The legal requirement to complete a condition report applies only to new tenancy agreements entered into since 31st October 2014 but landlords may wish to up-date an earlier report or create one when a tenancy is varied or renewed, or where there has been a material improvement to the condition of the accommodation unit during a tenancy.

Condition Reports are an essential part of the rental package especially with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme due to come into effect next year; having evidence in the form of a condition report will make decisions over the return of deposit money easier if there is a dispute that goes on to adjudication.

A standard template is available on the www.gov.je site but, many landlords already complete an inventory as part of a tenancy and they will still be able to use their own standard form provided that it includes the minimum information on the website including:

  • The names and contact information of the landlord or letting agent and tenant(s)
  • The dates on which the report was completed
  • The condition of walls, ceilings and floors in each room: and
  • Details of fixtures, fittings and furniture which come as part of the tenancy

Tenants should be satisfied the Condition Report is an accurate reflection of the condition of the property, prior to signing the report.

TOP TIPS

  • A CONDITION REPORT SHOULD BE AS PRECISE AS POSSIBLE; they need to GIVE A SUFFICIENT DESCRIPTION OF ROOMS/ITEMS OR THEIR CONDITION. THE REPORT NEEDS TO BE AS DETAILED AND ROBUST AS POSSIBLE.
  • REMEMBER TO READ EVERYTHING, ALL THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS – MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING.
  • DO NOT SIGN IT UNLESS YOU ARE HAPPY.
  • DO NOT GET EMOTIONALLY LED WITH WANTING THE PROPERTY. SEEK ADVICE . ASK QUESTIONS

Recently asked questions:

  1. How precise should a Condition Report be?
    1. The reports need to be as precise and detailed as possible t o be accurate and meaningful – lack of clarity, vagueness will be misleading and ineffective.
  1. Should I update my condition report after a year?
    1. A good idea to do this by mutual agreement
  2. Are photos acceptable as part of report?
    1. Photos can be part of the report but they cannot replace the basic requirements of the condition reports – they are a good addition to the report. The pictures, whether printed or on a disc, need to have date & time evidence and  copies need to be held by both parties.
  3. When a tenancy agreement is renewed, if there has not been a condition report previously, who has the choice of putting one in place at renewal, the tenant or the landlord or by mutual agreement?
    1. Condition reports are only a requirement for new tenancy agreements, they are not a legal requirement upon renewal so could be declined by either party. When there is a variance in the lease you may wish to discuss the option of a Condition report with your landlord/tenant.
  4. Who currently holds the Condition report? – Where is it filed?
    1. Both parties should retain a signed copy of the report along with a signed copy of the tenancy agreement.

Condition Reports are an essential part any deposit dispute. For further information please visit
www.mydepositsjersey.je
 

Malcolm Ferey

Chief Executive

Jersey Citizens Advice Bureau Limited

Tel: 871692

Email: Malcolm@cab.org.je

Web: citizen advice bureau


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