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Is an Inventory in a rental property really necessary?

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Last Updated: 12/09/2014   Tags:

So many landlords still insist on doing their own inventories or not having one at all, which never fails to amaze me. The inventory is one of the most important documents in the tenancy files for protecting the landlord’s property and interest. Unfortunately though by creating the inventory themselves, this actually takes away some of the weight of the document as the landlord is unlikely to be impartial, as opposed to if it was outsourced. So from an adjudication stance, if an inventory can be outsourced although more expensive, it is more likely to be taken as written and to be up to the current required standard offering the landlord much higher protection.
 
Many landlords feel that an inventory is purely for expensive properties or fully furnished properties, but in most properties the most expensive damage that can be caused will actually be to the fabric of the building NOT the furniture.
  
A well put together inventory, should also note essential items to help with the management of the property on going as well as an essential document for any third party property managers, like the location of the stop valve, the keys issues and where required for, the name and model number of the boiler, fires and appliances, instructions manuals, smoke alarms, furniture label presence (if applicable), the presentation of the garden and the metre readings (which in itself can save the landlords thousands)
 
1.       Clarify responsibility for items: Make sure all tenants are aware of who is responsible for the overall upkeep of the property and the items held within it. It could be that this is shared evenly between tenants or held by one individual tenant. In cases where there is high turnover of tenants, it is important that this is clarified between the agent, occupants and landlord.
 
2.       Document items within the property: It is important to record, in detail, the state of the property prior to your tenants moving in to cover yourself and ensure that you can claim for any damages to fittings and furnishings. The most comprehensive way of doing this is to order items according to room type so both you and the tenant can build up an accurate inventory and schedule of condition in known locations throughout the property.
 
3.       Be concise in your descriptions: The aim of the inventory is to be easily accessible so that items can be sourced quickly on the list. Making an adequate description of each item and its condition is advisable, avoiding vague language, keeping it brief and factual.
 
4.       Take photo evidence: Taking images of the property before moving in can help to clarify responsibility if challenged by the tenant. These should be shared and agreed with the tenant and kept on file throughout the tenancy.

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