In-house or Outsourced Inventories... These 10 things will help.
A comprehensive inventory carried out at the start of each tenancy can avoid numerous problems when it comes to the tenant moving out. By recording the property accurately - including any existing damages and giving the tenant(s) the opportunity to review the inventory and make any amendments - all parties should have a clear understanding of how the property should be returned at the end of the tenancy.
Could your reports benefit from these 10 things?
- The inventory should be the last piece of work carried out in the property before the tenant moves in, ideally the day before or on the day the lease starts. This should ensure all works and cleaning have been completed allowing the inventory to record the property exactly as it's being handed over to the tenant(s).
- It's good practice to provide an overview of the property before getting into the fine detail: this could include the decorative order of the property, gardens or communal areas as well as the overall cleanliness of the property. Cleanliness should not be overlooked - if this isn't recorded at the start of the tenancy, it becomes very difficult to claim for any required cleaning at the end of the tenancy.
- Ensure utility meter information is taken, ideally including the reading(s), serial number, location and photographs of the meters.
- Any keys that are going to be handed over to the tenant(s) should be accurately recorded and photographed.
- Following the overview, the main part of the inventory report should take the reader around the property logically, Pinstripe clerks move around each floor of a property clockwise (i.e. entrance hallway then first room on your left, etc.)
- Each room should be recorded in the same format, all fixtures and contents should include a description and a comment on their current condition/cleanliness. It's recommended not to rely on a general clause at the start of the report advising 'unless stated otherwise, all items are in good condition.'
- Photographic evidence should be recorded for each room and ideally embedded into the report, these should include overview photographs of the whole room as well as photographs of any existing damage. It's also advisable to take photographs of areas that are regularly flagged up at the end of tenancies regardless of the condition so you have a direct comparison, these could include:
- Oven, fridge, microwave, dishwasher and washing machine interiors.
- Bathrooms suites, plug holes, taps, etc.
- Mattresses and bed frames
- Make sure the tenant(s) sign the inventory: this is integral if the report is called upon as evidence at the end of the tenancy. Ensure the tenant is also given time to go through the inventory and make any amendments if required. Generally tenants are given between 3 - 10 days (Pinstripe allow 7 days).
- Remember, if for whatever reason the deposit return does go to dispute, the adjudicator will never have nor ever will step foot in the property. The inventory needs be thorough, accurate and easily read so the dispute can be resolved as fairly and efficiently as possible.
- In the event of a deposit dispute adjudicators work from the position that the deposit is the tenant's money until the landlord or the agent proves that they are entitled to the amount claimed. In this respect, the burden of proof is therefore on the landlord/agent. Therefore failure to produce a comprehensive inventory at the start of the tenancy will severely impact the likelihood of a successful deposit deduction claim at the end of the tenancy.
I'm Matthew, the operational Director at Pinstripe Inventories. If you would like to discuss your requirements then please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org