The Government is being urged to introduce mandatory independent inventory checks after the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) claimed it is seeing increasing cases of tenants signing biased reports.
The trade body claims tenants in some situations are unaware that it is the landlord or agent conducting the inventory check.
Danny Zane, vice-chairman of the AIIC, claims independent inventories offer protection for all sides and help to reduce the number of deposit disputes.
The parliamentary petition, uploaded in Zane’s name on behalf of the AIIC, says: “Independent inventory reporting of privately rented properties on an assured shorthold tenancy should be a mandatory requirement.
“Independent inventories offer protection and help to reduce the number of deposit disputes.
“Please support this petition and help us make the letting process more transparent for all.”
It cites figures claiming that a third of 2,500 tenants have their deposit withheld and 68% believe their landlord didn’t provide good enough reason to do so, while 40% of students lose more than a third of their deposit and 79% do not sign a photo inventory when they move in.
Zane added: “Full protection should be offered to all parties within the letting process, and independent inventory reporting is the only way to ensure that no biased reports are used.
“This will also enable the Government’s tenancy deposit scheme to have sufficient impartial evidence to enable them to adequately adjudicate should there be a dispute.
“We have seen more and more evidence of tenants being made to sign biased reports in return for their keys, mostly unaware that the inventory report is compiled by a landlord, agent or source that is not third party or unbiased.”
The petition has been backed by inventories provider No Letting Go.
Nick Lyons, chief executive of No Letting Go, said: “Independent inventory providers have a duty of care to protect the interests of both landlords and tenants alike.
“The Government has introduced legislation to protect tenants, but with no real effective means to monitor it.
“The introduction of a compulsory combined inventory and compliance report for all let properties compiled by trained, independent professionals will help ensure that landlords meet their legal responsibilities and assist the Government and Trading Standards to police the requirement to protect tenants.”
The petition, which runs until April 30, currently has just over 500 signatures.
It requires 10,000 for a Government response and 100,000 for a parliamentary debate.