A property inventory report is essential for helping to prevent disputes with tenants, and ensuring that your rental property is in the same condition (less fair, wear and tear) at the end of a tenancy.
Since the launch of mandatory deposit protection schemes, schedule of condition reports and inventory management have become vital documentation, in addition to the tenancy agreement, which is required at the beginning of the tenancy.
For a landlord; an inventory is one of the most important documents in the tenancy process and one that all landlords should look to either complete themselves or for more effective and detailed reports, outsource to professional inventory providers.
What is a property inventory?
Essentially, it is a list of all the components, contents and detailed description of the condition of all items in the home that are being rented either medium to long term or even shorter lets like AirBnB.
What should a property inventory include?
A property inventory should include any furnished items as well as descriptions of the condition of the property’s bathrooms, kitchen, doors, windows, walls and fixtures and fittings. A detailed record of the items in the property, the inventory should contain supporting evidence in the form of digital photographs and or video.
How does an inventory protect the landlord and tenant?
In combination with the checkout report, a schedule of condition and inventory report provides the landlord with the evidence needed to prove the exact condition and contents of the home when the tenants moved in. Without these documents, the landlord may struggle to prove that theft or damage has occurred, and is unlikely to make a legitimate and or successful claim against the deposit when (or if) the case is sent to an adjudicator.
Key mistakes when compiling an inventory report
It is a common misconception that producing a property inventory is simple, and only needs a basic list of the contents and condition of the property documented. Reports are often:
- Too basic
- Lack detail with inadequate descriptions and condition comments
- Based on opinion rather than fact
- Often fail to list all the rooms/property components
- Lack photographic or video evidence to highlight cleaning issues, damage and maintenance issues
- Don’t include a cleanliness schedule (schedule of condition)
- Fail to provide the report to the tenant for comments/signature
A professional inventory and schedule must contain photographs or video evidence with detailed descriptions, which can often exceed 40 pages in length. Though the aim here isn’t how many pages a report can produce; it’s about the quality of the information that will make all the difference if disputed by either the landlord or the rtnewnat.
The document should also aim to stand up in a court of law should the landlord be required to claim funds from the tenant’s deposit for repairs that exceed the deposit amount or unpaid rent.
How can providers ensure that the report is always ‘on point’?
With InventoryBase as your ‘go to’ software, you can easily create professional inventories for rental properties. The responsive and ever evolving software enables users to upload videos, notes and images, and has become a vital tool for the professional inventory provider. With diciation options, typist support, unlimited picture storage, apps that work in the field without the need for WiFi; InventoryBase is the one tool you shouldn’t be without.
How can InventoryBase software support the landlord?
Landlords can save a great deal of hassle and time by outsourcing the inventory process to a professional and independent specialist.
Inventory clerks not only conduct thorough and professional inventory reports, they can also offer advice and expertise. By having reports conducted by an impartial professional, it adds to the evidence bundle and is an invaluable resource should there be a dispute when the tenancy ends.
Where can landlords find a professional inventory provider?
Firstly; landlords should select an inventory clerk or professional inventory company who are insured for Professional Indemnity and Public Liability (Employers Liability confirmation should be requested if the company employs their clerks directly).
Secondly; some, but not all, are members of ARLA Propertymark Inventories or the AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks). However, membership is not always confirmation of quality. Before booking a report or service ask to see sample reports so that you can view the type of report, review the quality and information you are commissioning.
How much does a property inventory or check out report cost?
Depending on the properties location, furnishings and size of the home, inventory reports conducted by a professional costs will vary so always ask for either the providers rate card or a quote.
Property checkouts may, for some providers, cost less however the overall focus should be on the quality of the content and the peace of mind an insured and experienced service can bring to the tenancy process.
My property is clean and tidy; do I really need an inventory?
Even if your property is unfurnished, in good decoration, clean and tidy or contains what you consider to be low-value fittings or fixtures, an inventory report is vital.
For example, if the property walls are in ‘good condition’, are painted in a magnolia shade throughout at the start of the tenancy and have no issues, without a thorough inventory report, a landlord will struggle to prove any deterioration like heavy marks, holes or poor redecoration should the tenant fail to maintain the property.
A thorough and professionally produced, detailed and accurate property inventory report can help to limit costs, decrease the likelihood of deposit disputes as well as providing clear guidance and understanding so tenants know what is expected of them when it comes to maintaining the property throughout the tenancy.
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