One of the most important tasks for landlords to carry out before a new tenant moves into their property is the creation of a detailed inventory and schedule of condition. A tedious task it may be, but certainly one of the key aspects to consider before the start of any tenancy.
Having a detailed inventory not only helps to avoid a deposit dispute occurring at the end, but also helps to ensure that the tenant leaves the property in the same condition as it was originally so the landlord can act swiftly in re-letting to minimise any potential loss of rental income.
As a landlord you can put together the inventory yourself or employ a professional inventory company to help you out. If you are doing it yourself then read on for some vital tips to create your inventory.
Following our guidance will help you as a landlord avoid a formal dispute.
Where to start?
It's best practice for a comprehensive inventory to be carried out at check-in (start of the tenancy) and this should detail the current state of the property and describe how it should be returned (remember fair wear and tear). It should also define any terms used to report the condition and cleanliness of items in the property. If you’re compiling the inventory yourself, bear in mind that a third party should be able understand it without them being present at the check-in inspection.
Where to check-in and where to check-out
You could consider breaking down your inventory into key areas with a comprehensive list of the contents and condition to ensure that nothing is missed.
Areas to consider:
- Doors and walls
- Outdoor areas
It’s worth mentioning that when you come to revisit some of these internal areas at checkout you will want to ensure that they are returned in the same state of cleanliness, so it’s imperative that you as landlords make it clear what the tenant’s cleaning obligations are in the tenancy agreement. If you can, include guidance or define what is clean to a professional standard, clean to a satisfactory standard in your inventory. Remember cleaning is subjective; something which is clean to you may not be to someone else. If you want the final check-out to go smoothly, make it abundantly clear what is required when your tenants are getting packed up and ready to go.
One important thing to remember and something to remind your tenant prior to them moving out is ‘the little things make a big difference’. Did you check the oven and grill tray? Did you clean the washing machine soap box? Are the pipes un-blocked and bins emptied? Have your tenants contacted all the utility companies to settle bills and change addresses? Are the plug sockets fully functional?
There is so much to remember and every little bit of information could save you from a dispute.
When checking the inventory with the tenants at the check-out inspection discuss with them any proposed deductions you may be listing. A simple conversation could save time and effort down the line.
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