Having an agreed inventory in place when your lease is confirmed can go a long way to avoiding disputes when it comes to the tenants moving on.
What is covered in an inventory?
Essentially, an inventory is a written record of the condition of the contents of the property and the building itself. The landlord (or their representative) and the tenant should run through the list before the tenant moves in and agree all descriptions are accurate, and then the same happens again when the tenant moves out.
Any issues are then much easier to demonstrate and recouping costs from a deposit should be much easier because it reflects an agreed picture of the state of the property. For that reason, it can be beneficial for a landlord to have an inventory in place, though both the landlord and the tenant should keep a copy for reference.
Make a list
The inventory should cover everything. There is no such thing as ‘too much’ detail when it comes to providing an overview of the property. Consider the ceiling, walls and floor, whether that’s the paintwork, wallpaper, carpet, floorboards or any other finish. Record any marks or damage. Consider the fittings, like curtains or blinds, and record any marks there too. The same applies to the furniture, windows and doors.
As well as providing an accurate list of the condition of the property, the inventory is a chance to record whether there are alarms for smoke and carbon monoxide, and that they are working. Both parties might also find it helpful to include meter readings.
Both landlord and tenant should agree and sign the inventory at the start. If there are any changes during the tenancy, the tenant should keep a record, covering both dates and descriptions. With things like cracks, keeping photos with dates can be a great help to show development and can be added to the inventory.
For more information on why having a property inventory is so important, see the advice from the Landlords website.
There is property inventory software from specialist companies like Inventory Base inventorybase.co.uk that can help you get everything in order and keep it that way with tenants.
Neither party should sign the inventory until they are happy it is accurate, and then any additions should be clearly dated.