Property Inventories: A Landlord’s Guide
End of tenancy deposit disputes over damage to a rental property and its fittings or fixtures are every landlord’s worst nightmare. That’s why inventories are imperative when it comes to protecting your property and your investment.
Whilst landlords must, by law, protect a tenant’s deposit in an approved scheme, they are not legally required to provide an inventory. However, it really is in your best interest to do so if you want to avoid a dispute later. To help you get it right, we’ve created a landlord’s guide to property inventories that covers the key things you need to know.
A landlord inventory is a detailed record of all the fixtures and fittings within your rental property including white goods, fixtures and fittings and any furniture. The inventory will also detail the conditions of these items (known as the ‘schedule of condition’) as well as any scuff or marks to the walls, flooring or similar. The cleanliness of the property will also be observed in each room and recorded such as ‘cleaned to professional standard’ or ‘cleaned to a good domestic standard’. A landlord inventory should include details of:
The inventory should detail every aspect of the property. Each room will be checked for its condition, noting any marks or damage and the general cleanliness. You can do this yourself, but we’d recommend hiring a professional third-party company as they might spot defects you haven’t noticed, such as a missing radiator valve or wobbly door handle. Here at ZFA Group, we offer this service as part of our guaranteed rent scheme. Contact us today if you’d like to know more. The inventory will include any outside space such as a balcony or garden which is important if you’re expecting the tenant to maintain these.
Once the inventory and schedule of the condition have been created, stating the condition of each room and any defects, the tenant can be checked in. Sometimes you can create the inventory and carry out the check-in together if you need to save time. Ensure that the tenant/s sign a copy of the check-in report to confirm they accept it’s accurate or they can let you know of any discrepancies within seven days of the start of the tenancy.
When the tenant moves out, you should arrange for a separate check-out report, then you compare the two reports to see what, if anything, to deduct from their deposit. At this point, it’s reasonable to assume that if the tenant has lived in the property for some time, there’ll be a natural degree of wear and tear that should be allowed for. Rather, you should be looking to assess any damage or deterioration that has been caused by the tenant, or anything that you as a landlord are responsible for fixing before the next tenancy begins.
An inspection every quarter will allow you to check if there is any damage or deterioration beyond fair wear and tear. You can then highlight to the tenants that you expect damage to be put right before they move out, or you may need to make deductions from the deposit. It can also highlight any issues in the property, not caused by the tenants, that they’ve failed to report, which will allow you to rectify the issue before it causes irreparable damage.
A landlord inventory is not a legal requirement; however, it is best practice. Having a complete record of the condition of your property and its contents will save you a world of hassle later if a dispute should arise between you and the tenant.
A landlord inventory offers you peace of mind knowing that any damage or loss discovered at the end of the tenancy will be evidenced. Without it, it is very difficult to prove that the damage or theft was caused by the tenant or their guests.
If you find damage to your property, garden or contents or if items were missing and the tenant is not accepting liability, you will be able to raise a dispute with the deposit scheme’s dispute resolution service. Your inventory will also be used during mid-term inspections and check-out reports to ensure the property is being kept in good condition.
In a crowded rental market, it’s imperative to know who you can rely on to maximise your return on property rental. If you choose ZFA Group, we will handle the management of your property with expertise and experience to offer you the highest quality service.
If you’re thinking of buying-to-let, chat with one of our friendly knowledgeable employees – we can help you with a range of services, from rent guarantee for landlords and property management estate agency and property investment, and commercial letting.
Contact us today if you have any questions and we’ll take care of the rest.
I have been working with ZFA for 4 years and they manage my full portfolio. I don't need to worry about a thing, they manage every aspect of my properties - highly recommended.
Mr Stephen Jones