ej_topmost
Property Hawk

Inventories - Video Evidence

In the digital age, we ask the question of tenancy deposit scheme expert Tom Derrett; “is it’s worth landlords gathering video evidence in support of their written property inventory?”

Tom provides Property Hawk users with the inside track on how a Tenancy Deposit Adjudicator views the use of video evidence in tenancy deposit disputes & tips to using video technology successfully.



Video Evidence – how useful?


Video footage and video property inventories are increasingly common as evidence in deposit protection disputes. As video becomes more accessible in modern times  a lot of people are asking questions about how useful it actually is. Video evidence is considered admissible by the schemes and adjudicators will view it, but how much weight is placed on it depends very much on the quality of the video in question.

Chief Executive of My Deposits view


Eddie Hooker, Chief Executive of My Deposits recently stated that “a well put together video can really enhance the check in and check out process” and I would tend to agree. A clear video record of the condition of a rental property at the beginning and at the end of the tenancy can provide conclusive proof of whether the damage in dispute occurred before or during the tenancy, which is what you need to provide in a deposit dispute. Mr Hooker goes on to caution against relying on video evidence in isolation. I regard video as an extremely useful tool, but would recommend that it be used in conjunction with a written record of the property and that, akin with all evidence, steps be taken to show the date of the video, and to obtain the tenant’s agreement that it is a fair representation of the condition of the property.

Video evidence can prevent damage


There is anecdotal evidence that video inventories provide such a good record of the condition of the property that they actually prevent damage from occurring in the first place. Some landlords claim that once tenants have seen the video inventory from check-in; they realise that they will have no leg to stand on in a dispute. There are even reports of student tenants doing a spring clean before interim inspections and of damaged items being replaced or repaired by the tenant before check-out. Whether or not these isolated incidents are indicative of a trend, presenting your tenants with a video inventory when they move in certainly looks professional and gives the impression that you mean business when it comes to the security deposit.



Fair wear & tear


One of the most difficult aspects of damage to a landlord’s property is deciding what constitutes ‘fair wear & tear’.


Assessing whether damage is fair wear and tear is a matter of deciding how severe the damage is in the context of the property. I consider that high quality video evidence is particularly helpful in arriving at a balanced evaluation.

Proving dates


People get very hung up on proving the date and forget that ADR services and small claims courts employ the civil standard of proof, which is the balance of probabilities. A recording featuring the day's newspaper, or even a statement from an independent inventory clerk should be sufficient to tip the balance in the absence of other evidence.

 As I understand it, time codes on video are very hard to fake, as they are on every frame, unlike a photograph, which just needs five minutes in photoshop.

I do recall a case where the date of a video was in doubt. The party alleging fraud submitted no evidence to support the allegation, and the video evidence was admitted.

A bad video may be of no or little use


A badly made video, on the other hand, may be of very little use to you in a dispute. I have been on the receiving end of several very poor examples of video evidence that did nothing to advance the landlord’s case and I can highlight several potential pitfalls for the ‘would be video recordist’. For example, be very careful about the format of your video evidence. Your movie might play perfectly well on the version of Quicktime, Media Player or whatever video software you have installed on your computer, but can you be certain that it will play on the standard, basic PC set up provided in most offices? If in doubt, stick to a universal format that will play on an ordinary DVD player.

Use a decent quality video camera


Another common mistake that people make is using the video record function on their digital camera or on their phone. If the job is worth doing, it’s worth using a proper video camera. Phone and still cameras have narrow lenses, and cannot record wide angle shots of walls, ceilings and floors in context and in focus, which is what you will need as evidence for a claim on a protected deposit. The best evidence allows adjudicators to freeze frame and zoom in on relevant parts of the image. Accurate zoom is best on high definition footage and is impossible on shaky, out of focus recordings.

Highlight the relevant part of the video


Remember that adjudicators are only human, and you will win no favour submitting the best part of a hour of video without giving any indication of which part is relevant to your claim. Telling the adjudicator to fast forward to a certain point is useful, but breaking your footage down into the different rooms is much more helpful, as it permits the adjudicator to examine different elements of your claim at leisure.

Video evidence is worth doing, but only if done properly


In conclusion, video evidence may well be worth investing in as it has the potential to save landlords a great deal of time and money, both by winning or preventing deposit disputes and by cutting down the amount of damage caused to rental properties; however, producing videos yourself, that are of sufficient quality to stand up in court or at adjudication, could involve significant outlay on technology and developing advanced skills as a camera operator.

See more in the Landlords Bible on preparing a property inventory.

See more useful posts from Tom Derrett on how to win in tenancy deposit disputes.

Get cheap tenant references online

Landlord insurance – professional rates – discounted



Comments (1)

video evidence law since Oct 2015
Gi Dad this is new law for Landlords /Tenants.
#1 - brianduffysnr@msn.com - 09/06/2016 - 14:03
Name
E-mail (Will not appear online)
Subject
Comment
To prevent automated Bots form spamming, please enter the text you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
»
This comment form is powered by GentleSource Comment Script. It can be included in PHP or HTML files and allows visitors to leave comments on the website.
Most popular landlord information and FAQs

 

What rental yield should a landlord try to achieve?
Accelerated possession - Section 21 Notice
Non payment of rent
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
How to prepare a property inventory
Grounds for possession of a rental property
Fair wear and tear on a rental property?
Filling out a N5B form for possession
Landlord insurance advice
Letting to students
How do I choose the best tenant?
Should I use a letting agent?
Commercial Mortgages

Whole market search.
Instant personalised quote.
Rates updated in real time.

Find the most suitable mortgage for your individual requirements using our advanced buy-to-let mortgage finder.

Search
News and Advice for Landlords

MAGAZINE
Landlord Freehold Ground Rent Investments Many landlords are attracted to investing in proper...
Hello, I am Amy Castleman, a specialist Housing Solicitor at Premier Solicitors in Bedford. M...
One of the biggest issues that landlords face when tenants move out is the oven clean. Why is...
Should landlords let to students? Students can make good tenants & here’s why: ...
The risks of a leak in an apartment block To date I have bought two apartments in residential...
The three pillars of successful residential investment I’m often asked by newbie landlo...
This has been a question that has pre-occupied me for several years.  By instinct I don’t l...
I noticed recently there have been some significant repair bills coming through as the age of my buy-t...
“To furnish or not to furnish your rental property, that is the question” The dif...
‘Rent to rent’ sometimes known as rent2rent is the latest get quick scheme dreamt up by th...
What are tenancy renewal fees? A tenancy renewal fee is ostensibly the charges made by the le...
Cleaning Deposit Disputes between a Landlord & Tenant One of the most regular a...
If I had a pound for every time over the last 25 years of renting property and more recently running P...
Dates play an important part in a landlord’s life.    Pict...
Over the last two years, the property industry has seen an increase in the number of disputes between ...
Before you turn off thinking "oh yeah it’s another plug for  landlord insurance,"...
A vital part of being a successful landlord is to get the right tenant. In fact if the truth be known,...
For property investors, particularly first time property investors there a huge number of potential in...
BTL landlords are often portrayed as money grabbing, evil, exploitative beasts. We are accus...
How I started my property portfolio I started my portfolio back in the early 90's. We had jus...
INVESTORS CHECKLIST For potential property investors there is a huge amount to take...
We have spoken before about the life of a student landlord, but here's a little bit more advice for th...
Lease options are all the rage in some landlord discussion forums having usurped BMV or Below Market V...
Property gurus & experts The rise in the buy-to-let residential investment market has bee...
  Advanced residential investment strategies Buy-to-let investment is pretty st...
For landlords with residential investment property it’s rapidly approaching that time of year &n...
Since the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) on the 6th April 2007 it has been a legal r...
It seems timely with the deadline for paying and submitting your self assessment t...
Lee Sharpe from TaxInsider.co.uk looks at the implications for property businesses considering incorpo...
This modern day ‘knight’ of the urban realm can be hero or cowboy depending on the one you...
I'm fascinated by 'financial engineering' and how every so often, quirks of timing cause financial opp...
Rental period confusion One of the most confusing aspects of let...
Caveat emptor for the non-linguists means ‘Let the buyer beware’.  Loosely translate...
Property Hawks Property Manager software is mainly designed for individual buy to let landlords to man...
Here we go again. The leaves are turning a riot of oranges & reds before we descend headlong into ...
Landlords could be forgiven for feeling a little brow-beaten. Over the last 12 months, we hav...
The Government have produced a new Section 21 Notice. We have updated the version of our free...
A number of users have contacted us to share their concern over the proposed tax changes in the Budget...
Is Landlords Boiler insurance worth it? Getting your boiler fixed can be costly for landlords...
Landlords looking for a buy-to-let mortgage will face more restrictive lending criteria in the future....
Cash Back Offer Landlords looking at taking out a buy-to-let mortgage want to look at the Pro...
The Chancellor has not been overly generous to landlords and the buy-to-let sector in his Summer Budge...
PM3s is the 4th generation of our Free Property Management Software. The software has been free to use...
Section 21 Notices are about to change as a result of the Deregulation Act 2015.  Rebecc...
Following the election result. many landlords are breathing a sigh of relief.  Economic stability...
Landlords should be fully aware of the importance of being adequately insured. I know it's a pain to s...
Taxing Concerns for the Buy-to-Let Market The UK’s property market was given an unprece...
I hate change and regulation.  Most of it is badly thought out, counter productive & pointles...
The latest legal case to unsettle the traditional certainties of a landlord’s world is the case ...
Private Rental Sector – Party Policies The big day approaches and finally it will be yo...
Changes that came into force this week (6th April) (see for instance http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32087038) now allow many ...
When selective landlord licensing was introduced  by the Housing Act 2004 it was intended to be a...
My small claims court experience My case came about because my tenant stopped paying the rent...
Rents are rising. Great!  According to the Rentindex they are up over 2.5% over the last year. ...
My tenant has always been an exacting type but it's now getting beyond a joke. Every few week...
Most landlords know that they need specialist landlord insurance.  Why? Because household policie...
It's been a while since I've sold one of my buy-to-let properties, but the potential of a new buy-to-l...
Christmas is a time for reflection and after over 20 years in the landlord game I've seen a fair few c...
Landlords are never off duty.  Last week I was in the middle of a patisserie class of all things ...
Tenants are getting more politically militant! They are mobilising, pulling together, and forming grou...
After 12 years of owning and renting out a flat, the freehold landlord has decided they want to start ...
Refubish to let – finance is key 'Refurb to let' is the latest trend in buy-to-let acco...
The the referendum and the party conferences of the past few weeks have thrown politics back into the ...
We have warned landlords before about the purges on landlords. The cash strapped Revenue periodically...
My problem tenant has gone, and finally I have possession of my rental property. ...
What interest rate should a landlord charge on late rent payments? My problem tenant has fina...
Tenancy Deposit Scheme disputes Tenancy deposit disputes are a messy business, so we asked th...
My tenant has left - time to celebrate? This week I was greeted by a text from a friend/neigh...
Revenge Evictions –time to act? 'Revenge eviction' is a new concept to me .  It&rs...
Letting agent questions I’m just in the process of selecting a letting agent.  I&r...
Buy-to-let hotspots are the ‘talk of the town’ right now.  Clearly we are in some kin...
Letting agents are not the ‘favourite kids’ on the property block. Landlords tend to view ...
Landlords should get fixed up I have been eyeing the latest developments in the economy and t...
What are the new court fees for possession? The court fees for landlords obtaining possession...
What are my allowable expenses? I’ve been contacted recently by several landlords who w...
Solicitors are costly. I'm all for landlords using their initiative and avoiding paying unecessary pro...
Section 21 notice dates – where are we now? Rebecca Brough our resident expert from Fid...
People frequently ask me what is my biggest tip on how to be a successful landlord. The answer is simp...
Not all our users realise that having signed up to our website they are FREE to start using our Proper...
I've been hit recently by a range of maintenance issues on my buy-to-let portfolio, including a number...
We are just a couple of weeks into 2014, so I thought I’d take a look at some of the best deals ...
OMG!  It's here again.  The ‘bloomin’ personal assessment tax deadline looms lar...
It looks like ‘Austerity’ …..‘Prudence’s’ long lost sister is on ...
The Section 21 Notice has not been the easiest of things for landlords to get right. Using the right o...
In the week that the Land Registry released historic data going back 18 years, I thought I would share...
Rebecca Brough solicitor at Fidler and Pepper highlights the potential dangers and consequences of the...
It appears that landlords are starting to fight back over unfair licensing charges by some local autho...
Access to finance is key When I started as a landlord the key for me was access to ...
Prospective property investors thinking of dipping their toes into the residential property market, or...
Longer tenancies?  Sounds like bliss to most landlords. Most of use love the thought of long-term...
The section 21 notice is a powerful tool. It is the one document that gives a landlord the certainty o...
When is a landlord not a landlord? Well the obvious answer is when they are a leaseholder.  ...
Creeping landlord licensing is on its’ way affecting many landlords.  A perfect example is ...
I was talking to one of the waitresses in my local.  She is so excited! She’s ...
Tenancy agreements are our thing.  We have been providing a free tenancy agreement to the landlor...
The latest projections see no immediate end to the long run of low interest rates.  This week Mar...
Our Property Manager software has come on leaps and bounds since we first developed it as free propert...
In these tough financial times some landlords may be looking at how they can pull in a few extra quid ...
The Government's latest proposals are to introduce a statutory obligation on landlords to check whethe...
Many landlords have been thrown into confusion over the last few months as tightening legislation and ...
I love being a landlord.  I’ve recently set up another new business.  I work ...
According to figures from the Dogs Trust, 46% of the population currently own a pet.  Now assumin...
Recently, I was talking to a new landlord about their first ever tenants.  They had been chuffed ...
Should I use a letting agent? The perennial debate amongst landlords is should I use a lettin...
Landlords who may be thinking about buying into purpose built student accommodation should stop and th...
Landlords are increasingly often under a time pressure. With the burgeoning regulatory requirements of...
Most of us ‘hard bitten’ landlords get fed up with the endless splurge of meaningless head...
Are rents about to fall? Landlords have been insulated from many of the harsh economic winds since the...
Tenancy Deposits – ESSENTIALS I’ve recently had a scare over one of my tenants de...
The queen is dead! Yes off course I'm referring to Margaret Thatcher.  Now she never sai...
Landlord Insurance Minefield My landlord insurance falls due this month.  As u...
We have frequently expressed opposition to a blanket landlord registration scheme - the ‘so call...
We’ve all had it - the phone goes, it’s one of your tenants’.  Do you:...
Better The Devil You Know?   I've recently advertised my rental property follo...
I was contacted this week by a fraught landlord who was the subject to a negligence claim from their t...
The buy-to-let mortgage market has gone from bust to boom again over the last few years.  With le...
This is a regular discussion point amongst many landlords.  Those that have been dissatisfied wit...
It's a landlords’ dread!   A nice respectable looking tenant, with a good...
Rebecca Brough of Fidler and Pepper Solicitors asks whether landlords need a tenant guarantor, and exp...
The thing with managing a portfolio of buy-to-let property is that for much of the time you don't have...
Brings Threats and Opportunities Many landlords are adopting a wait and see approach to the G...
Severe rental arrears fell by almost 16 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012 according to data from ...
Should a landlord let their tenants smoke? Landlords are acutely aware of the bad smells and ...
New Year celebrations are well and truly over, so it’s back to work, and for many landlords, sma...
I was thinking today, what would be the top 5 things I would wish for next year as a landlord.  S...
You may think that as a landlord you are not liable for your tenants’ water bill. Well up until ...
I can't begin to explain how fraught the last few weeks have been.  Most part time landlords will...
The buy-to-let mortgage market has been in the doldrums for several years after the ‘crash&rsquo...
Rebecca Brough of Fidler and Pepper explores the world of fees and charges in respect to a landlords ...
Don’t forget your section 213 notice! Property Hawk has been urging landlord not to forget about...
You are just about to let your buy-to-let.  So what are the essential bits of paper work that you...
Is there such as thing as the ‘fair wear and tear’ of your buy-to-let property? ...
Landlords looking to obtain possession have two basic choices when trying to get their buy-to-let prop...
So it all goes wrong!  The tenant moves out (disappears) and owes you months of rent.  They ...
We recently had a enquiry on the Landlord Forum asking whether it was a good idea to serve a section 2...
Landlords seeking possession frequently have to decide between the merits of using a Section 21 notice...
Renewing a tenancy is one of the most straightforward aspects of managing a tenancy.  But many la...
Getting possession of a rental property when your tenant falls into rent arrears Th...
I read recently on a landlord forum a suggestion from one disgruntled tenant that landlords should be ...
My latest round of tenant gripes has hit me after a relatively quiet period. I suppose it was...
After launching the new version of the property management software we felt the actual site pages look...
Rental yields have always been a critical metric when evaluating a buy-to-let investment and they are...
Any landlord who follows London politics will not have escaped the fact that the private rented sector...
I was chatting this week to my joiner Steve. He was having a nightmare! Steve had done most o...
The Co-op announced last week that it was stepping up lending into the buy-to-let mortgage market by a...
Legislation should be in place by the end of the year to allow landlords to benefit from the Green Dea...
It's January which means only one thing for most landlords, yes it’s time to get to grips with t...
As the year comes to an end many landlords will be drawing up their plans for 2012. With the ...
I was contacted several weeks ago by one of our longstanding users. Kevin wrote to highlight ...
I'm like the majority of small landlords in that I have opted to use the Deposit Protection Scheme (DP...
Europe is at it again! Not content with their crazy project “Euro”  putting ...
You might be aware that I’ve had a number of new tenants recently. This has i...
It’s a great time to be a landlord. Many of us including me are making record rental pr...
I was contacted last week by a landlord looking to gain access to their bu...
I’ve written before about landlords not needing to use a letting agent. We al...
It's been a while since I've had a new tenant move in. The new tenant seems amiable enough. A middle a...
My landlord insurance fell due at the beginning of this month. DAMMM! Yet again the dilemma. ...
It is possible to get a company to fill out your N5B.  This will cost anything upwards of £...
Most landlords use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement to let their property. So how long ...
I've been looking at some recent enquiries from landlords who use our Property Management software to ...
Most landlords who let a property that is tenanted will not be liable for council tax.  This is b...