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Why a Detailed Inventory Is a Must When Letting Property
The in’s, out’s and necessities of an inventory are up for discussion in our latest blog post…What is a detailed inventory? An inventory is a detailed list of the contents of your property sometimes known as a ‘schedule of condition’. This catalogue of items and their condition is an essential for all landlords and letting agents and benefits their tenants too. This document should form part of the legally binding contract set out in the tenancy agreement between landlord and tenant.Why do you need one?It is essential that you keep a record of all of your contents and the condition of said contents in order to maintain standards in your property. The inventory should be checked before letting to a tenant and again upon their departure, you should also refer to it during inspections. Any damage to contents should be noted and this factored into the repayment of the deposit when a tenant moves out. Having an inventory is an excellent tool in preventing conflict between tenants and landlords as a clear itemised list cannot be disputed when it comes time to reimbursing a deposit. Dealing with a deposit dispute can be both stressful and expensive so preferably avoided at all costs.What should you include?The more detailed you can be the better protected your contents and property will be. You should include furniture, white goods and also details about fixtures and fittings. Even if you are renting out an unfurnished property you should still create a detailed inventory of carpets, sinks, condition of walls and paintwork etc. These items would be costly to repair and replace should they be damaged and an inventory such as this will help to safeguard you in the case of such damage occurring. It is possible to purchase software to create an inventory or to download a pro forma which would offer a guide as to what to include. You should cover every room in the property and the outside, making note of items, their condition and their cleanliness. You should include detail on the carpets, windows, woodwork, paint/wall conditions, electrics and doors. In the kitchen you should record the condition of units and appliances. Don’t forget to include any outside space, fences, sheds and condition of pathways etc.How should you do one? To prepare a detailed inventory requires some work initially but once prepared they are fairly easy to maintain. Ideally you want to create a document that covers one room per page with a list of permanent fixtures then a list of moveable items, noting both their condition and cleanliness. One of the safest ways to further avoid dispute and ease checks is to create a visual catalogue of your properties’ contents by either photographing items or videoing room by room before you accept a tenant. In particular you should photograph the more valuable items such as the white goods if you are including any in the rental as these items will also experience a lot of wear and tear. If there are any damages to items; worn areas on carpets, dents or scratches to furniture etc. then make a close inspection and record of these. When accepting a tenant take the time to go through the detailed inventory with them, both of you signing the document and initialing each page to confirm that both parties are in agreement over the items and their condition before the tenant moves in. Should you wish to you can hire an independent inventory clerk to conduct the survey and document the contents and condition of your property. Making use of an independent service saves time but also costs; however it can be a wise investment as should there ever be any dispute regarding the tenancy deposit protection scheme the inventory clerk’s report would be considered a key piece of evidence. You should expect to pay between £100-£150 for such an inventory to be compiled by an independent clerk, although be aware that this fee will continue to increase depending on the size of your property. Remember to date your inventory when you compile it and to keep a working document that can be updated when necessary. A final piece of advice; keep hold of all receipts for maintenance and cleaning work as a backup to your working inventory. For more advice and access to a range of resources helping you maximise the letting of your property do visit our website at https://nickfox.co.uk/