When starting with a new tenant, some landlords don’t put in place a property inventory. The consequences for not compiling this common-sense, basic list can be costly if matters go awry. Here we look at what inventories should include.
What is an inventory?
An inventory is simply a list detailing the state of repair and condition of a property, plus the fixtures and fittings. Also known as a ‘schedule of condition’, the inventory sets out the state of a property at the start and finish of a tenancy. It helps to decide whether any damages should be extracted from the tenant’s deposit to cover any losses the landlord has incurred.
Preferably, photographs should be arranged to avoid disputes over the condition of new appliances or valuable items.
What to include
Firstly, an inventory needs compiling even for unfurnished properties, since there are cases where tenants have damaged carpets and walls. Next, note that items like electrical sockets, taps, locks and light switches are functioning properly. List the condition of doors, windows and paintwork and try to repair anything faulty. In addition, note any scratches, scuffs and marks.
Include all the property’s moveable objects: every piece of furniture, curtains, carpets, kitchen appliances, cabinets, door furniture, light fittings . . . everything. In addition, jot down the exact appearance of each fixture or fitting, taking in the colour, fabric and the way they are affixed. This will let you judge easily whether anything inferior has been substituted. The position and condition of internet and telephone connections should also feature.
List the type of keys the tenant is receiving from you, and how many sets. Record electricity and gas meter readings on the tenant’s moving day. Provide safety certificates covering any gas installations, and check electrical appliances and pipework for safety. It is crucial to note correct dates (valid from when the tenant takes possession) and gather landlord and tenant signatures on your inventory forms.
Efficient property inventory software is available from inventorybase.co.uk, or similar.
Shelter provides advice on an inventory here: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/how_to_check_and_agree_an_inventory.
Protect yourself fully
In conclusion, prepare a full inventory in order to prevent any arguments when the tenant leaves. Without an inventory, it is simply your word against the tenant’s and then arbitration may be necessary to obtain monetary redress from your tenant’s deposit.