Why An Inventory Is Important
Tuesday 30th January 2018
Whether you are a Landlord or a Tenant renting out a property, having an inventory inspection carried out is crucial. It is the second most important document that you will require alongside your Tenancy Agreement.
Not all Tenants understand the importance of this report and the role it plays at the end of their tenancy. It should be in the interest of both the Landlord and the Tenant that an inventory inspection is booked prior to the Tenancy moving into the property. For the Landlord, it provides that security that should there be any damages caused to the property, its fixtures of fittings, that any deductions are made from the deposit. For the Tenant, it also provides a security and acts as a guidance if a Landlord or Agent accuses them for causing damage that may not necessarily be their fault - something which may have been there at the start of the property and not something that may have been caused whilst they were residing at the property.
An inventory report is an essential piece of document that not only protects all parties but also demonstrates that the Agent has done the right thing - it looks a lot more professional when such action is taken as opposed to just renting out the property and hoping for the best at the end of the tenancy!
What Is An Inventory?
An inventory report is a professionally and thoroughly compiled document detailing all aspects in a property - its contents and their condition/cleanliness, supported by photographic evidence. During any given tenancy, the clerk will conduct two inspections - one prior to the start of the tenancy (Check-In) and one at the end of the tenancy (Check-Out).
Understanding the general condition of the property and its fixtures and fittings at the start of the tenancy enables the tenant to get an idea as to what is expected of them during the tenancy in terms of the level of maintenance required to maintain the same standard as that of when they first moved into the property.
Once the tenancy has come to an end, a Check-Out inspection is performed. This report will outline the overall/final condition of the property and its fixtures and fittings. The purpose of the report is to determine what issues are the Landlord's responsibility and which are the Tenants - something which will be classed as tenant negligence. This document will outline any discrepancies and will enable the Landlord or Agent to determine whether any deductions will be made from the deposit.
Should there be a disagreement between the Landlord and Tenant, the matter will then be passed on to the adjudicator where a dispute will be raised. This is where the inventory and check-out reports will be vital pieces of documents to enable the adjudicator to review the dispute and make a judgment.
Using the most professional clerk is vital, as should any damage not be noted on the inventory/check-in report, the tenant will be left in a difficult situation whereby he/she will be asked to pay for the damage even though it may not have been caused by them. Once the tenant has moved into the property and the report is sent to the tenant, they have the right to go through the document at their own time and review the comments that were made. Should there be any inaccuracies or omissions, the tenant must report these back to the Landlord or Agent in good time. This will alert the Landlord or the Agent that the tenant has brought these matters to their attention and avoid being charged inappropriately.
How to Avoid Disputes
Tenants are only liable for issues classed as tenant negligence - something which they caused that was not initially raised in the inventory/check-in reports.
The following aspects will be taken into consideration when matters are classed as wear and tear - number of tenants that will reside at the property, length of tenancy, age and condition of fixtures and fittings.
A professional clerk will advise you on the costs for replacement or making good of certain issues - such as walls, flooring, windows etc. If, however at the start of the tenancy, the clerk noted that the oven door was faulty, but a few months into the tenancy, the door falls off or breaks entirely, this will be classed as wear and tear and will be the Landlords responsibility to repair or replace it. However, if the fault was not noted, then it would be classed as tenant negligence as the oven door cannot break on its own.