A property inventory is essential in preventing disputes with tenants, and ensuring that your rental property is in the same condition at the end of a tenancy as at the beginning. Essentially a list of all the contents and description of the condition of all items in the home, an inventory is one of the most important documents for a landlord to complete.
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. An inventory is a detailed record of the items in the property, which often contains support and evidence in the form of digital photographs.
The launch of the mandatory deposit protection scheme has meant that 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.
In combination with the checkout report, a schedule of condition and inventory report provides the landlord with the evidence they need to prove the exact condition and contents of the home when the renter moved in. Without these documents, the landlord cannot prove that theft or damage has occurred, and will not be able to secure a claim against the deposit when the case is sent to an adjudicator.
It is commonly misconceived that conducting a property inventory is simple, with a straightforward list of the contents and state of the property documented. However, this could not be further from the truth. A professional inventory and schedule must contain photographs and detailed descriptions, which can often exceed 40 pages in length. The document must also stand up in court should the landlord be required to claim funds from the tenant’s deposit for repairs.
With tools such as InventoryBase, you can easily create professional inventories for rental properties. Inventory software enables users to upload videos, notes and images, and has become a very sophisticated device. Most software is designed for use by inventory clerks and letting agents, who will use the application regularly. Inventory clerks will then charge a setup fee, in addition, to check out services, mid-term checks and a usage fee for every inventory. Most letting agents provide a good, professional inventory service for their tenants.
This means that 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 services, and they offer advice and expertise. By having the work conducted by an impartial professional, it proves invaluable should there be a dispute when the tenancy ends.
Landlords should select an individual inventory clerk or professional inventory company who is a member of a body which ensures they abide by defined codes of practice. The main organisations which do this are APIP (The Association of Professional Inventory Providers) and the AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks). Depending on the location, furnishings and size of the home, inventory reports conducted by a professional can cost up to several hundred pounds. Property checkouts will cost less, but the overall cost of a professional service is easily outweighed by the hassle, benefits and savings that an inventory clerk will provide you with.
Even if your property is unfurnished, or contains low-value fittings or fixtures, an inventory report is still vital. For example, if the property is painted in a magnolia shade throughout, without a thorough inventory report, a landlord cannot prove this should the tenant change the colour. Other items such as doors and windows should be described as undamaged, and it should be clear that flooring is not damaged or stained and kitchens and bathrooms are free from limescale and mould.
Detailed and accurate paperwork saves landlords many potential headaches, as well as sending clear messages to tenants about what is expected.
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