The issues relating to fittings, handover and condition reports that need to be covered in a Trust Deed or sharing agreement?
This is the third of four sections that cover all aspects of sharing
- Part 1 – Ownership, exit strategy and costs
- Part 2 – Use of the asset
- Part 3 – Fittings, handover and condition reports
- Part 4 – Meetings and disputes
Furniture, fixtures and fittings
This applies particularly to property, mobile homes and boats that have to be purchased.
If the asset is to be purchased, all sharers have to not only ensure that they have similar taste, but also agree how they are going to agree on the specific furniture, fixtures and fittings that need to be bought. Possible mechanisms are:
- All are present at every purchase and everyone has to agree that they are happy for the item to be bought (a lengthy process but it does ensure you get what you want)
- One (or more) sharer(s) is designated to buy everything within a certain budget.
- A third party is paid to establish the sharers likes and dislikes and to buy everything within a certain budget.
You will also need to make a full inventory of all key possessions.
Many assets will need to be cleaned as they are handed from one sharer to another (such as property, mobile homes and boats). It is often easier if the asset is cleaned every week/fortnight/month at the handover point, and possibly regularly at more frequent intervals.
Sometimes you may want some housekeeping actions done at the point of handover, maybe by the cleaner. You may want the cleaner to arrange each week for the linen to be laundered. If the asset is a property used on alternating weekends by two sharers, they may choose to ask the cleaner every week to switch their toiletries in the bathroom, or change the bed and bathroom linen to their preferred linen, or display their favourite cookery books in the kitchen. If one sharer has an item (say a picture) that they love and that the other sharer hates, the housekeeping action could be to take the picture down/put it back up. Or maybe one sharer has small children and want certain items at a low level to be removed/put back.
If you have the property set up specifically for each sharer, then you will also have to ensure the cleaner/housekeeper making the changes knows about any amendments to the dates when sharers are using the property.
There are endless possibilities. These may seem trivial aspects, but this is what makes your shared property or boat really yours. Arriving late on a Friday night and finding your toothbrush in the bathroom, your duvet just as you like it, and a clean set of clothes in your wardrobe, is completely different to renting a house for the weekend.
We strongly recommend that you draw up a checklist stating how key details about the asset are left at the end of each sharers turn. This will differ for each type of asset and also for the particular concerns of the individual sharers, but is well worth the small initial effort to decide how the asset should be left.
Examples of items on the check list are:
- leave a full tank of fuel (mobile home, boat, plane or car)
- leave a full tank of water (mobile home or boat)
- leave sufficient tea bags, coffee, sugar, dried milk, milk, washing up liquid, toilet paper, whisky, gin, tonic water, (or whatever is important for the sharers) for the next sharer in case they arrive late at night (property, mobile home or boat)
You will quickly learn the checklist, but it is a useful memory jogger as you are often in a hurry at the end of your use of the asset. It also helps you to identify what is vital for each of the sharers (whisky or tea!)
A checklist is one of the attributes of many successful sharing syndicates.
You need to have regular condition reports. The level of expertise of the inspector and the frequency of reports depend upon the type and value of the asset. Here are some examples:
- For a small property being shared by two people, you may only have one inspection a year and you may choose to pay a local real estate management company or estate agency to do this.
- For a large boat being shared by six people each using it for two one months period a year, you may choose to have an inspection at the end of each monthly period by a local boat agency.
- For jewellery you may choose to have an inspection every time the jewellery is taken out of the safe deposit box and every time it is returned to the safe deposit box. These inspections should be done by an independent jeweler to ensure that each individual stone and setting is exactly as its documentation specifies.