Some landlords inexplicably dismiss the idea of providing a property inventory when taking on a new tenant. It may be because they think it will take too much time or it could be that they simply forget to do this. The consequences to a landlord for failing to carry out this very basic and common-sense task can prove expensive if things go wrong. Here we can look at what an inventory list should contain.
What is an inventory?
An inventory is quite simply a list covering the condition and state of repair of a property plus the contents and fittings. The inventory, also called a ‘schedule of condition’, is something which is designed to set out exactly what state a property is in at both the beginning and the end of a tenancy and helps to assess whether any damages need to be taken out of the tenants deposit to cover any losses to the landlord. The inventory can be compiled by the landlord or by the property manager and should be signed by the landlord and tenant. Ideally, photographs should be taken particularly if there are new or valuable items like kitchen appliances so that there can be no argument over their condition.
What to include
Firstly it’s important to point out that an inventory should be compiled even for an unfurnished property as tenants have been known to damage walls and carpets! Then note that things like taps, electrical sockets, light switches and locks are working properly. Note the condition of windows, doors and paintwork and preferably repair anything that needs it. If not, make a record of any scuffs, scratches and marks wherever they appear.
All moveable objects in the property should be included; every item of furniture, carpets, curtains, cabinets, kitchen appliances, light fittings, door furniture, in fact everything. Not only that, you should also note down the exact appearance of each item, from the colour to the fabric they are made from and how they are affixed if necessary. This way it is easy to assess whether anything is swapped for inferior fittings. Any telephone and internet connections – their condition and exact position – should be included in your inventory.
Your inventory should include how many keys you are giving to the tenant and what type of keys they are. Gas and electricity meter readings should be recorded on the day the tenants move in. Safety certificates should be provided which cover any gas installations including pipework and electrical appliances must have been checked for safety. A crucial inclusion should be the correct dates (valid from the date the tenant moves in) and signatures on the inventory forms!
In conclusion, take time to prepare a full and thorough property inventory in order to prevent any disputes when the tenant moves out. If there has been no inventory provided and the tenant disputes any damage issues it is simply your word against theirs and you may have to go to arbitration to obtain any financial redress from the tenant’s deposit.
If all this seems like a bit of a headache, why not consider the benefits of employing Atwood to manage your property – not only will this mean all these time consuming jobs are off your to-do list, it could bring you guaranteed rent. Call us to find out more!