The Importance of Inventories
An inventory is one of the most important documents you can have as a landlord. They ensure that your property is in a good condition when your tenants move in and that your property is returned to you in the condition it was let in. They are also crucial if a dispute arises with your tenants.
An inventory should be a thorough list of all of the contents of a property, as well as its structure, fixtures and fittings.
Your inventory will of course be longer if you rent out a furnished property – but don’t think you don’t need to spend as much time on it because your property is unfurnished.
All inventories should detail the condition of the property’s: Doors and walls; flooring; windows; utilities; bathroom; kitchen; and outdoor areas, if there are any.
If your property is furnished, all of the extra items you provide for your tenants should be specified and the condition noted. It is advised that you state the brand of each item, so that if a dispute arises, you know how much should be deducted from the tenant’s deposit. Also remember that saying something is in a good condition or satisfactory condition is subjective – instead, detail any damage or wear.
You may choose to compile the inventory yourself, it may be your letting agent’s responsibility, or you could use an independent inventory clerk. Whoever conducts the inspection, it is wise to take photographs with date stamps as evidence of the check.
Create the document before your tenants move in so that they have something to refer to when they look around their new home. Both parties should then sign the document and keep a copy.
At checkout, you should use your inventory to compare the state of the property once the tenants have left. If a dispute arises over deposit deductions, your deposit protection service will use the inventory as evidence.
Remember to expect fair wear and tear, as a property that has been lived in for a period of time will not be exactly the same as when someone new moved in.
But always keep your inventory up to date and accurate – it protects not only your property, but also your goods and money.