The Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) aims to provide a service for either in-house or independent inventory providers - by offering a recognised standard of inventory provision, advice and guidance and opportunities for professional development.
APIP offers inventory providers the opportunity to have their professionalism recognised by the use of post-nominals (e.g. A N Other MAPIP) and the APIP logo; and to promote their service via the APIP website.
APIP also provides landlords, property management agents and tenants with the names of and access to accredited inventory providers, with the reassurance that an APIP member meets professional standards, is fully insured and follows the APIP Code of Practice.
Why is it so important to have a professionally drawn up inventory?
A detailed inventory has always been required however with changes in legislation the spotlight is now firmly on the inventory and check in and check out processes.
Recent tenancy deposit scheme cases have highlighted the need for the clear concise inventory to protect the landlord. Many cases have resulted in a full return of the deposit as the landlord could not provide sufficient evidence to successfully pursue their action.
What legislation is this and what is the background?
Initially driven by the consumer interest bodies, due to increasing complaints from tenants not being able to recover their deposit at the end of a tenancy, government was lobbied to provide protection and dispute resolution.
Following extensive trials ARLA, NAEA and RICS were able to demonstrate to the government that member agents had the ability to hold the deposit themselves and submit any disputes to an independent adjudicator. However this did not account for individual landlords or agents that did not belong to a redress scheme or were not regulated in any way. As a result the Housing Act 2004 was passed and the requirement to protect the deposit came into effect from the 6th April 2007.
This law requires that all Assured Shorthold Tenancies created or renewed on or after the 6th April 2007 must have the tenant’s deposit properly protected.
Three schemes were approved by government and the TDS set up by the professional bodies is usually the preferred option for agents.
Who holds the deposit?
There are three schemes, two insured and one custodial. Under the insured scheme the agent or landlord can continue to hold the deposit providing they have been accepted into membership of the scheme and have paid the premiums required.
The custodial scheme holds the deposit and is open to any landlord or agent who wishes to use the service.
What has the inventory got to do with this?
All the schemes are required to offer ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution. In the event of a dispute over the deposit, which cannot be resolved by the parties, the matter is placed before an adjudicator. The adjudicator concerned will review the evidence and make their assessment on the facts placed before them.
The adjudicators will rely heavily on the inventory and schedule of condition, the check out report and the conditions placed on the landlord and tenant under the tenancy agreement. They will also note any comments made at the check in. This places a responsibility on the inventory provider to ensure that their work is clear, well laid out and unambiguous in its comments. Independence of the inventory is also important and APIP with its standards and code of practice provide professional integrity in this area.
Why is a thorough, detailed and accurate inventory essential to protect the interests of all parties including the agent?
If an inventory is inadequate, out of date, non-existent or if it cannot be proven to have been given to the tenant, then the adjudicators are likely to award the deposit to the tenant unless the tenant admits to damage or losses. After a period of time operating the schemes this message is being reflected in the ADR outcomes, with many inventories being found to be either inadequate at the outset, or failing to make the correct substantiated observations at the check - out.
What does it mean to be a member of APIP?
Membership of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers will be a clear demonstration to landlords, agents and tenants that the member has achieved accreditation in their profession and has met the industry best practice standards.
A member will be able to use the initials APIP after their name. In addition it will be a requirement that each inventory compiled by a member carries the name and membership number of the member. This will become recognised in the industry as the benchmark for a professional inventory.
A member will have proved that they have worked as an inventory provider for at least six months, passed the acreditation examination and shown that they meet the requirements of holding current, adequate public liability and professional indemnity insurance. These are strong indicators that the inventory provider who carries the initials APIP is regarded as a competent professional within their industry.
Using an inventory provider with this qualification will raise the profile of the agent and reassure the landlord and tenant alike that this important side of the business is being treated with the professionalism it deserves.
Who can become a member?
Membership is open to the independent inventory provider or an employed staff member of a lettings agent. In other words, anyone who works either full or part-time in the industry providing inventories and the accompanying services, who has the correct insurances in place and has passed the accreditation examination or other recognised relevant qualification and has over 6 months experience.
Student Membership is open to those who do not have 6 months experience or who have not passed the accreditation exam, correct insurance is required.
How do I become accredited?
How do I become accredited?
To become fully accredited a member must have passed the APIP Accreditation Exam, have a minimum of six months experience and have up-to-date public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
The exam is multiple choice and the full examination syllabus can be found in the education section of this website. Much of the syllabus content is covered in the publication ‘The Guide to Best Practice for Inventory Providers’ which is available from APIP and during our two full day courses Professional Inventory Provision Course A and Course B.
Professional Inventory Provision Course A is designed to cover the basic knowledge and skills that an Inventory Provider needs in order to prepare inventories that are fit for purpose.
Professional Inventory Provision Course B is aimed specifically at those people who have a working knowledge of how to produce an inventory and who now wish to complete their knowledge of the rest of the processes usually undertaken by an Inventory Provider.
More details of both courses are found in the education section of this website.