Getting your rental property inventory right is essential. There are companies and individuals you can employ directly. You could can do it yourself. Yes, there’s even an app for that!
What is an inventory report?
An inventory is a report of the contents and condition of the property on the day the tenants move in. The document should be signed by both parties to show agreement. If, at the end of the tenancy a dispute arises over the deposit it is this record of the property that will be referred to by the deposit holding scheme to make a decision. It is essential you get this right and agreed to begin with.
Everyone agrees on the importance of the inventory but quality of inventory provision varies greatly across the industry. Success in deposit disputes is usually dependent on the quality of the inventory and the schedule of condition. A professional and diligent approach is essential in ensuring that tenants and landlords avoid financial loss.Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
Make sure its fit for purpose
When considering how best to do the inventory, first consider – in the event of a dispute, how are you going to present the evidence? How are you going to compare before with after to justify any claim on the deposit? Spending a little longer on presenting an inventory at the beginning may save hours of work at the end of a tenancy.
An inventory rarely takes 20 minutes! Everything must be noted in the inventory – doors, door frames, windows, skirting, floors, beading, ceilings, lights, switches, sockets, fittings, appliances and furnishings. Utilities meters and readings should be given. Smoke, heat and carbon monoxide test buttons should be pressed and the results noted. Don’t forget the garden, shed and garage…
The inventory should cover what they are, what they look like, what they are made of, any marks, stains, chips and fire labels. The more information that goes into the inventory and the clearer it is presented the more protected you are.
In the event of a dispute on the tenants deposit that cannot be settled between landlord and tenant, the inventory will go to the tenancy deposit scheme the deposit is registered with. In the event of the deposit not covering any damage the dispute may go to court. Clear evidence is essential.
‘A properly prepared and comprehensive inventory sets the scene for what is provided by the landlord at the start of the tenancy. It therefore plays a significant role in protecting both landlord and tenant. A detailed inventory will help avoid disputes, whilst any such dispute that does arise about missing contents or condition of the property at the end of the tenancy can be more easily resolved.’ Chris Hamer, former Property Ombudsman
Who should do my inventory?
There are a whole host of individuals and organisations out there who provide professional inventories. You can even do this yourself.
Before employing an inventory ask to see examples of their work. Check how thorough their inventory is. Also, don’t just ask to see an inventory report, ask to see their checkout reports too. See how they present the comparisons. Ask to see their public liability and professional indemnity insurance. You can also ask if they hold any qualifications or are members of professional organisations for inventory providers.
There are two professional organisations for inventory providers, ARLA Propertymark, and the AIIC. It is not compulsory for an inventory clerk to be a member of a professional organisation. Being a member demonstrates that your inventory clerk has experience, undergone a form of training or has a recognised qualification, and holds professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
A professional inventory provider should be highly trained, up to date with legislation, save you time as well as provide a highly detailed, accurate report to protect the landlord’s property and the tenant’s deposit.
Visit the following organisation’s websites for more information about inventories
- The Association of Residential Letting Agents – ARLA Propertymark
- The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks
- A guide to check-in/out reports, inventories and schedules of condition – The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
- The ins & outs of inventories: A guide for landlords, letting agents and tenants – My Deposits
- Top 10 inventory tips – The Deposit Protection Services
Getting your rental property inventory right is essential.
We are always happy to answer further questions about inventories or give a quote, contact Rosecroft Property Services. Lisa Dubow at Rosecroft Property Services is an ARLA Propertymark qualified inventory provider.