Understanding The Importance of a Property Inventory as a First-Time Landlord



Inventories are usually conducted by a letting agent, landlord or specialist inventory clerk before the beginning of any new tenancy. A good-quality inventory is vital, as it can establish whether damages claims at the end of the tenancy have any substance.

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What Should an Inventory Contain?

The written inventory should note the date and include a detailed description of the condition of every item inside the property before the tenant collects the keys. An accompanying photographic record should detail the state of the walls, ceilings and floors and the colour, quality and condition of the carpets, door furniture and light fittings, presented on a room-by-room basis. Any marks, stains or scratches should be photographed and described.

Procedures with Tenants

Tenants get a copy of the inventory at the beginning of the tenancy and have to sign and return a copy to the landlord or agent. They can usually make amendments.

Most tenants pay a deposit at the beginning of the tenancy. This should be kept in a Registered Deposit Scheme until the tenancy ends. Then an inspection is conducted and the signed inventory gets used as proof to investigate any neglect or damage caused by the tenant after the tenancy began. Allowance is made for ‘fair wear and tear’, especially if the tenant has lived in the property for a considerable period.

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Good property inventory software which can streamline your administration is available from inventorybase.com.

Some more landlord tips are here https://landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/importance-check-inventory.

Disagreements over Inventories

If the tenant disagrees with any decisions of the letting agent or landlord over keeping back deposit monies to fund repairs, they may dispute it (as can the landlord) via an adjudicator representing the firm protecting the deposit. This generally happens online, and the adjudicator requests all evidence from both parties. The original inventory together with details from the final inspection ought to supply the adjudicator with a firm basis on which to make a decision. If there isn’t an inventory or clear photographic proof, the landlord can’t pursue matters further.

Common Disputes

Often arguments are lost on the grounds of insufficient photographic proof. The most typical causes of disputes include gardens, ovens and hobs, sealant and bathroom tiles. A clear visual record of these areas should therefore be logged with the inventory.