The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks says it is concerned at the results of a survey suggesting 79 per cent of student tenants do not sign an inventory when they move in to a rental property.
Some 40 per cent of the students questioned in the survey - commissioned by personal finance website money.co.uk - admit to having lost their deposits at the end of their tenancies at college.
The AIIC claims there is a direct correlation between these figures and low numbers of tenants bothering to check and sign inventories.
"Although these figures cover student tenancies, it would be no surprise to learn that a high proportion of regular renters enter into a contract without an inventory having been compiled," explains AIIC chair, Patricia Barber.
She says inventories help tenants and landlords make a fair assessment on the condition of properties at the start of tenancies. Furthermore, it can help tenants to make sure that they leave the property in the requisite state in order to receive their damage deposit back in full.
"For these reasons, professional inventories which incorporate photo evidence can help to minimise the chances of a deposit dispute," Barber adds.
She says that in the event of a deposit dispute, the Deposit Protection Scheme's Alternative Dispute Resolution is more likely to look favourably on a case which is accompanied by an independently compiled inventory and check out report.