Do you need an inventory as part of a tenancy? This article explains the importance of having an inventory drawn up at the start and end of a tenancy.
Do I need an inventory as part of a tenancy? Whether you’re asking this question from the position of being a landlord or tenant, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
What is an inventory?
The Collins English Dictionary defines the word inventory as ‘a detailed list of articles, goods, property, etc’. This description of the word relates to a document which lists all the items in a particular place or property and should be prepared prior to the start of the tenancy.
However, many landlords and tenants are under the misconception that an inventory is just a list of the furniture, crockery, and cutlery, but a good inventory should cover more than these things. It should include the condition of the property, the décor, doors, and any other detail relating to the property being let. Two inventories are required per tenancy: a ‘check-in’ tenancy, and a ‘check-out’ tenancy. Both the tenant and the landlord should sign the check-in inventory before the tenancy begins.
Is an inventory important?
An inventory helps to minimise the potential for acrimony between the landlord and tenant at the end of the tenancy. Without an inventory, a landlord will find it difficult - or impossible - to prove that some items are missing or that the property has been altered or damaged. This makes it hard to claim financial payment from the tenant by withholding some of the money held on deposit. An inventory also helps a tenant to know what their rights and entitlements are.
Both the landlord and tenant will benefit from having an inventory to consult. For tenants, the ‘check-in’ inventory will clearly state what the condition of the property was and what utensils, crockery and other fittings were there at the beginning of the tenancy. If everything tallies, then the tenant will not be faced with the possibility of having funds deducted from their deposit.
For landlords, an inventory will provide them with the confidence that their property will be kept in good condition during the tenancy. An inventory will also reduce the possibility of disputes at the end of a tenancy, help avoid the cost of having to repair any damage done, and limit the loss of revenue incurred by having no tenants while repairs and redecoration are carried out.
Are inventories relevant for unfurnished properties?
Some landlords believe that if their property is not fully furnished then they do not need an inventory. This is a grave mistake to make. An inventory should record the condition of the garden, the condition of the internal wall, and the cleanliness of the property at the beginning of the tenancy as well as the fixtures and fittings.
Should an inventory be drawn up by a professional?
The answer to this question is yes. Professional property inventories should be drawn up by an unbiased professional who knows what needs to be included in the document. A thorough, professionally-executed inventory will be helpful should a dispute arise.
The inventory should include photographs which clearly illustrate the condition of the property at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
As letting agents, we can assist with drawing up inventories to ensure a smooth-running tenancy. For more information and help with the preparation of a tenancy, call us today.