Why Use an Inventory?
With the introduction of the Deposit Protection Schemes (DPS) inventories are now more important than ever. If you take a deposit from your tenants (most landlords and agents do) then by law you are obliged to protect it in one of the approved schemes. If there is a claim against the deposit for damage, then without a good inventory the landlord (or agent) does not stand a chance of securing a claim when it goes to an adjudicator.
What is an Inventory?
An inventory should detail the condition of all décor, fixtures, fittings and contents relating to a rental property. Contrary to popular belief, an inventory is not just a list of the items to be found in a rental property and is therefore not merely restricted to furnished properties. All properties are supplied to a tenant with floor coverings, wall coverings, fixtures and fittings and the state or condition of these needs to be noted before a tenant moves in.
Inventory Top Tips
To prevent any discrepancies, it is always best to have a property professionally cleaned prior to the tenants moving in, and to gain a receipt for this service.
If the tenancy includes access to the garden make it clear from the outset as to whether or not a tenant will be responsible for reasonable maintenance of this area.
Make sure all meters are read at the start of the tenancy.
Include in the inventory, a list of appliance manuals / warranties (if they exist
Photographic evidence is hugely advantageous and is particularly useful for highlighting unusual or expensive items and areas of damage. If a photograph is taken of a mark / scratch, it is useful to incorporate a tape measure / ruler to give some sense of perspective. Otherwise, if a scratch has been recorded but not measured, significant further damage can be inflicted with no course of redress.