At the end of a tenancy, it can be difficult to prove exactly how much damage has been caused to a property or its contents. A detailed inventory can give a good indication between the start and end of tenancy, but it still does not provide that additional proof which may be the difference between winning or loosing a dispute with the RTB.
We would suggest that you use photographs together with your written documentation. Not one or the other! Remember – photographs can’t record all damage – odours, for example, and other cleaning issues.
Photographs at the start and end of the tenancy (check in & check out) provide an extra level of evidence and support to any written documentation you have. Provided they are recorded and dated correctly, they can show how a property has changed over time, clearly highlighting any damage caused.
This can be very useful for an adjudicator assessing your deposit dispute.
Take the pictures at the same time as the check in /inventory report – if possible, in the presence of the tenant(s). Date the photographs and if the tenant(s) are present for the check-in, request that they sign and date them in accordance with their own observations.
If the tenant(s) are not present they should be sent the photographs with the contract and any other check-in/inventory documents.
Verification of photographs taken at the end of the tenancy will be more difficult, unless the tenant is present, because they may not be returning to the property to confirm the detail.
Tips when using photographs as evidence – remember:
- Your images must be of a good quality to show an adjudicator a relevant level of detail.
- Use the right quantity of photographs for a dispute; do not upload hundreds of unnecessary photographs.
- Take photographs in a good light, you might need to open curtains or turning on lights, it works best when windows are behind you when taking photographs rather than behind the object.
- Label the photos with details of the location in the property and the damage so that an adjudicator can easily see the issue in question.
- If necessary, add an item to the photograph to determine size and position of damage – a pen or a mobile phone for example.