Whilst not required by law, it amazes me how many Landlords choose not to obtain a professional inventory for their rental property. With the recent deposit legislation favouring tenants so heavily it is vital Landlords protect their property adequately.
What is an Inventory? Most people mistakenly think that an inventory is simply a list of a property’s contents. An inventory is a detailed record describing the property, fixtures and fittings, contents, appliances and their condition. An inventory should cover everything from door handles to light switches, carpets to leather sofas. It should make clear the decorative condition of each room along with the level of cleanliness. Quite simply, if it is not detailed in the inventory, it is not protected!
Can I do one myself? Yes, but don’t think you can run one off in 30 minutes. You can expect to take at least half a day preparing an inventory from scratch for a 2 bed furnished flat! The more detail you provide the better. The fact remains, however, that should a deposit dispute be passed to an ICE they will always favour a record that has been compiled independently than one with ‘vested interests’.
Any pointers? Ensure text is backed up with photos- the more photos included the better. These not only show in detail what has been described but also show room layout to ensure the property is returned correctly. Make sure your tenant(s) sign/witness the inventory- for an inventory to be genuinely valid in a claim you must show it has been approved by the tenants in question. Failing this, ensure there is a clause in your tenancy agreement that any changes needed to the inventory must be made within 7 days of the start of the tenancy (that way you don’t lose out if they never send one back).
What are the costs? Costs vary but are typically competitive. For a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom furnished apartment you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £125. When you weigh this up against the thousands of Pounds of property it protects, it is a small price to pay. Tenants will typically have to pay for a professional check out (around £100)- this ensures that the process is seen as fair with the inventory company compensated by both sides and therefore unlikely to be biased.
Kristjan Byfield at Base Property