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Landlords - what should a good inventory include?

As a landlord, one of the most important pieces of documentation that you need to get in order is your inventory.

Making sure your inventory is sorted as a landlord is vital as they are necessary in the case of disputes and can even prevent them from happening in the first place.

What is an inventory?

An inventory is a detailed document which records the condition and cleanliness of each room and the fixtures, fittings and contents of a rental home at the beginning of the tenancy. The report on the condition of the home is also known as a ‘schedule of condition’.

What should be included in an inventory?

It is important for landlords to understand that the more detailed an inventory is, the better. As well as just being a written document, an inventory can also include pictures and videos which can be extremely useful for landlords.

Pictures and videos, after all, can be used as visual evidence in the case of disputes, putting landlords in a stronger position backed up by physical evidence. A clear before and after picture can be seen.

Below is a list of what an inventory should include, but this isn’t exhaustive.

  • All furnished items
  • Paint colours
  • Cupboards
  • Gardens
  • Kitchen units
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Walls
  • Floor coverings
  • Windows
  • Furniture
  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Sheds
  • Doors
  • Ceilings

What makes a good inventory?

A good inventory will be thorough and detailed and ideally 40-50 pages long. It will include a full written report of the property’s condition, which will detail the property’s interior and exterior and will mention any appliances, white goods, décor, fixtures and fittings, all contents, the garden and any outbuildings.

The report should also contain equipment serial numbers, meter readings, alarm codes and a full list of keys. There must also be a declaration page at the end of the inventory for signatures.

Although this isn’t required, it is good practice to take video or photographic evidence of the condition of the property - especially regarding expensive items. Having visual evidence helps to eliminate any doubt about the original condition of items if a tenant tries to claim no damage has been caused.

Why are inventories important?

Since mandatory deposit schemes have been brought in, inventories have taken on increasing importance and are one of the most important documents required at the beginning of a tenancy. Inventories are necessary because they help remind both tenant and landlord what the condition of the property was at the start of the tenancy.

If a landlord takes a deposit from their tenant, they are legally required to protect it in one of the government-approved schemes. If a landlord finds their property is damaged, very unclean, has missing items or anything that is different to how the property was when it was originally rented, then they may want to claim against the deposit to compensate.

Your inventory and schedule of condition, alongside a check-out report, is your evidence of the property’s contents and state before the tenant moved in. If you have this, it’s likely that you will be unable to prove any subsequent damage or theft by the tenant and, as such, it will be extremely unlikely you can secure a claim when it goes to an adjudicator.

When should inventories be checked?

It is recommended for landlords to make inspections on a quarterly basis – every three months. This is so they can compare the inventory with its present condition. But you must be aware that your tenant will need 24-hour notice in writing before an inspection is carried out. You can use this as an opportunity to discuss any obvious signs of damage with the tenant.

Here at Holland Properties, we can help landlords to carry out their inventories in the right way, to keep disputes and issues to a minimum.

We have been an established estate and letting agent since 1999 and can help to manage your tenancies, allowing you to get the most from your rental properties as a result. We operate in Docklands and the surrounding areas including Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe.

For further guidance on any part of the lettings process, please contact us today. You can also request a free and instant online valuation to see how much rent you could be charging in the current marketplace.