Why Are Inventories Important When Renting Property?
Inventories can help to prove whether damage beyond fair wear and tear has or has not been caused during the term of a tenancy.
Therefore they can help to speed up disputes or indeed to defend a tenants position that any damage is considered within the realms of fair wear and tear.
Below are a selection of some of the most common questions I am asked by both landlords and tenants.
What is an inventory, and why is it important?
An Inventory is a record of all the property contents and a record of the properties condition. Another name for this is a “schedule of condition”. The document is primarily designed to help assess the condition of the property at the time the tenants move in and again at the tenancy end. It’s important because it can confirm what damages if any, need to be claimed for at the end of the tenancy.
How is an Inventory prepared and by whom?
The Landlord, Letting Agent or our preferred choice of an Independent Inventory Clerk should organise the Inventory which should be agreed with the tenant on move-in day. The Landlord/Agent and tenant(s) should sign the Inventory to confirm they are in agreement with comments contained within the report.
Photographic or video evidence of the property contents and condition aren’t obligatory but are definitely worthwhile. How in-depth you wish to be can often depend on how valuable the items in the property are. Understandably the more valuable items like a tumble dryer and/or should be captured with imagery, so there is no question of their condition.
When should a check-out inventory be done?
In an ideal world, on the day the tenant’s moves out the landlord should do a final inventory check. The inventory must be looked over and agreed with the tenant before the deposit being given back. It’s essential that the inventory is checked immediately before the tenant leaving, so there can be no dispute about any damage occurring after the tenant has departed. The deposit should be handed back within 10 days or a claim to the tenant deposit scheme started.
What happens if items have been damaged?
If there is a general agreement between the parties on what has been damaged, the landlord and tenant can negotiate over a fair sum for the damage.
If an agreement is not reached then the Landlord the landlord must start a claim with the Tenant Deposit Scheme within 10 days.
If the amount being claimed is less than the deposit sum registered, the balance must be repaid.
If the deposit doesn’t cover the total needed to carry out the repairs, an invoice itemising all charges involved for further payments should be sent to the tenant. If the tenant does not pay the landlord would need to consider litigation to recover the money.
If items need to be replaced then the landlord must be clear about the rules regarding betterment.
This means that the original age and condition of the replaced item should be considered when calculating approximate replacement cost.
Should I bother creating an Inventory for an unfurnished property?
Yes… Even if a property is described as unfurnished, there will still be things that can be damaged and be costly to fix such as carpets, walls or doors. Therefore it is still vitally important to have a thorough inventory.
If there’s any other questions you’d like answering feel free to leave a comment or email me.
True Story – At a recent check out (not our tenant) a landlord had to replace a costly door in the living room as it was clear the tenant had hung a dartboard on it!