What is an inventory?
The inventory report is a document which comprehensively details
the contents of the property. This includes the furniture, fixtures
and fittings and as well as doors, walls, ceilings, lights, flooring
and so on. It is usually associated with a check-in report which
is carried out at the start of a tenancy and outlines the state
of the items and property at that time. When signed by the landlord
and tenant it becomes a legally binding document and an integral
part of the rental agreement.
Who needs one?
Every landlord and tenant should have an inventory for each property.
Because the report outlines not only what’s in the property,
but also the condition it’s in.
What is a check in report?
The check-in report compares the inventory and notes any variation
in either content or condition of the items, typically this means
cleanliness and of course, we also record meter readings. It is
vital that the check-in report is agreed and signed by the landlord
(or their representative) and tenant as it forms the basis of the
agreement between them.
What is a check out report?
The check-out report is carried out at the end of a tenancy when
the condition and contents of the property are noted together with
any differences when compared with the check-in report. Any changes
are clearly highlighted.
What is a periodic inspection?
As the name suggests, periodic inspections can help ensure that maintenance
and repairs are identified and addressed in good time. Regular
inspections can prove to make economic sense too as prevention
is often less costly and disruptive than cure!
Why use photographs?
Our experience shows the best way to avoid misinterpretations and
disagreements is by combining the reports with photographs. Marks,
scratches, stains and damage are photographed and serve to complement
the written description and so avoid unpleasant disputes.
What about video reports?
Autumn 2005, sees the introduction of our video reports. This means
we are able to provide the most realistic and complete visual and
documentary reporting available anywhere.
The property is unfurnished - do I still need an inventory?
Yes, because the inventory will also point out the condition of the
walls, curtains, carpets, bathroom, kitchen appliances and the
property as it stands. Some landlords believe that if their property
is unfurnished, then they do not need an inventory, because there
is very little that can be stolen, broken or damaged. However,
just think about your beautiful white walls being painted pink
and purple and the tenant leaves them in that state. Without an
inventory if you deduct monies from the tenant’s deposit
and the tenant sues, you’ll be out of pocket.
Can anyone prepare the inventory report?
All inventories should be prepared by an inventory clerk. They are
truly independent and will thoroughly survey your property and
note everything. If you prepare an inventory yourself and the other
party disagrees with the inventory he/she may refuse to sign it.
Remember, you need a signature on the inventory to prove that it
Who’s the authoritative source?
A tenant is unlikely to disagree with an inventory clerk because
they are dealing with a professional person who is qualified in
that particular field.
Who pays for the inventory?
There is no hard and fast rule, typically both parties can come to
some arrangement as to who should pay. The common arrangement we
come across is the landlord pays for the make and check in report
whilst the tenant pays for the check out report.
Your day in court
Judges do not look favourably upon inventories prepared by landlords
because they see it as an amateur attempt to fulfil a duty. Consider
that judges are notoriously favourable to tenants and they will
tend to find in their direction unless there is absolute solid
evidence pointing the other way.
To sum up
Always have an inventory made by an inventory clerk. It’s vitally
important and although another expense, it could actually save you
money in the long run!