The Importance of an inventory.
What is an inventory and why is it important when Letting out a property?
Picture the scenario- You allow a tenant to rent out your beloved property which used to be your family home. You know and trust the tenant and do not think that an inventory is necessary… Fast forward to 6 months/ a year etc down the line and they have decided to move out.
Before their move out day arrives, you visit them and you notice that the wall paper is ripped, there are marks on the paintwork, footprints on the carpet and a huge scratch on a worktop…. you are not best pleased to say the least.
You kindly ask them to fix these issues before they move out and to your horror, they tell you that ‘It was like that when we moved in’
You took a deposit but you have no proof to claim against it and the tenants will of course deny all responsibility.
Unfortunately, this will usually have to be chalked up to a lesson learnt- in the mean- time, you have to spend your rental profits on the repairs and are unable to get a new tenant straight in to the property.
An inventory is a binding legal document that provides an accurate written record of the condition and contents of a property at the beginning of a tenancy.
Since the introduction of a legal requirement to secure a tenant’s deposit in an approved scheme (We at ASK use the DPS, (Deposit protection scheme))
It has never been more important to have an inventory, preferably prepared by an independent company or your managing agent can assist with this. In order to deduct monies from a tenant’s deposit you must be able to demonstrate changes beyond reasonable wear and tear. The only way to do that is with an inventory.
The importance of an inventory
It is only effective if it is accurate, therefore all defects and soiling must be noted. Some landlords do not realise that although descriptions can appear uncomplimentary, it is those descriptions that will allow them to prove whether a tenant caused damage.
Photographs are always invaluable to coincide with descriptions
The following areas are normally included but more or less can be covered by arrangement. In every case, detailed comments are shown beside each description: Interior condition and decorative order, plus the fixtures and fittings including: doors, windows, drapes/blinds, ceilings, walls, carpets etc. Furniture and other contents, excluding items which the Inventory Clerk considers as expendable, such as magazines and living plants. Gardens are described in layman’s terms only. Garden statues, sheds, outbuildings etc will be described as deemed appropriate. Lofts, cellars and similar areas are not normally covered.
Should a property contain anything considered an antique or of great value we must be notified and, ideally, valuations should be provided. It is recommended that a property is cleaned to a professional standard for the start of a tenancy paying particular care to carpets, curtains, upholstery, kitchens and bathrooms. If an item is soiled at the start of a tenancy a tenant cannot be charged for cleaning it at the end. Landlords are also advised to retain all receipts.
Once a tenant is ready to move into a property, they must go through the inventory carefully and sign to acknowledge the condition in the report is as stated. If they have any discrepancies, they MUST be rectified or noted on the inventory and initialled.