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Deposit Protection Service The Property Ombudsman
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A landlord’s guide to inventories.

When you become a landlord, the Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme provides a level of protection for you and your property in the event of damage to your property.

However, when it comes to the finer details, a full inventory (sometimes known as a schedule of condition) can also be a massive advantage. Although it is not a formal or legal requirement, an inventory demonstrates best practice when letting a property and can aid negotiations over the amount of deposit to be returned at the end of the tenancy to avoid lengthy disputes and protect all parties.

As well as the fixtures and fittings, an inventory should list everything at the property in order to identify anything that is damaged or goes missing at a later date. A common misconception is that it is only furnished properties that require an inventory. Although it goes without saying that any furniture and appliances should be included, everything in the property from sockets to switches, carpets, curtains, blinds and even walls should be included.

Details on the current decorating conditions, colours and the state of the garden should also be included. For a small investment, a full record with photographic evidence that is signed and agreed by the landlord and tenant at the state of the tenancy can support any claims you may have in the future. Where photos may not offer enough detail, video evidence can also be useful, drawing attention quickly and easily to any relevant issue.

In the event of needing to make a claim, it is important to keep receipts for any repairs carried out or replacement items purchased. These documents, along with any quotes or estimates for work which may need to follow, should be fully itemised for complete accuracy.

Disputes commonly arise from deductions made in relation to cleaning charges, with tenants claiming a lack of clarity at the start of a residency regarding the expected cleanliness of their property upon leaving. Landlords can seek to avoid this by recording the cleanliness of a property in as much detail as possible on the inventory, and by taking into account that they should allow for fair wear and tear during the tenancy period.

It is possible to create your own inventory; however, one of the benefits of using a reputable agency is the opportunity to draw on the experience and professionalism of property experts. This also means you have the advantage of having adjudicators who will look impartially at any disputes and ensure a fair outcome.

For an informal discussion on inventories for tenant check-in, mid-term inspections or check outs, contact us today. 

Posted by
Ian Murray
on 7th June 2016