Why Do Landlords Have to Provide an Inventory?
Every tenancy should involve an inventory – both for the landlord and the tenant’s peace of mind.
That way both can agree at the beginning of a tenancy on the condition of furniture and fittings. If there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy then it should go to arbitration, with all the evidence (including the first inventory) made available for the panel to decide on who the damage was caused by and, if the tenant, then how much should be deducted from the deposit either for a replacement item or repair.
What Is a Property Inventory Report?
A property inventory is a list of the furniture, fixtures and fittings in a rental property. It documents what these are and the condition they are in.
The inventory is carried out at the beginning of a tenancy and again, at the end, when the tenant moves out. Make sure the inventory is ready prior to the tenant moving in since this is the time when furniture and other items are most likely to be damaged.
The inventory is dated and signed by both the tenant and the landlord as a means of saying they agree with the contents of the inventory. This is crucial since an inventory often won’t be accepted as evidence during a dispute if it isn’t signed.
Why a Property Inventory Is Necessary?
- It’s a means of checking the furniture etc for both parties at the beginning and a useful comparison document at the end of the tenancy
- Damage can be pointed to directly using the inventory
- It can be used as evidence if a dispute over the deposit ends up in arbitration
- It can let the landlord know what he or she needs to repair for the next tenant
- It’s a good guide as to what is damage compared to ‘wear and tear’
What Is Included in a Property Inventory?
The inventory looks at each room in the property in turn. The items there are described, as well as their condition. In many cases, photographs are also taken (and which can prove excellent evidence in cases of dispute).
- Contents – Once a room has been highlighted, the inventory should describe the furniture there, as well as the flooring, curtains and any appliances.
- Fixtures and fittings – This includes the door handles, taps, sinks, locks, doors and cabinets.
- Décor –This covers the paintwork, wallpaper, window panes and door frames
- Safety – Any fire alarms, an intercom system, carbon monoxide detector etc
- Exterior – If the rental property is a house then it may have a garden with a hut and/or garage, trees, plants and a swing etc.
Some landlords like to include dates and certificates of inspection for gas and electric checks. A copy of the EPC is also regularly included.
Using the Inventory
The ‘check in’ inventory is referred to during the ‘check out’ when a separate report is compiled documenting and damage to items. It’s best to get an independent party to do this – one who is listed by the Association of Inventory Professionals. Every government-approved deposit protection scheme advises landlords to do this.
The number of keys returned by the tenant and meter readings on their last day should also be written into the report.
If damage is found and the tenant agrees they caused it then the landlord can deduct money from the deposit. If the tenant refuses however, the landlord or tenant contacts the tenancy deposit scheme the money is listed with and the process of arbitration kicks off.
The inventories will be used as evidence for the panel’s final judgement. The dispute shouldn’t take longer than 30 days to resolve.
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