A thorough inventory can save a landlord time and money and prevent messy end-of-tenancy disputes. So why do so many landlords in Preston, Leyland and Chorley rush this essential stage – or skip it altogether?

In this quick read, we look at why an inventory is important and what you need to include in it.

Picture this

Your tenant of the past year is leaving. You go to check them out and find a massive stain on the living room carpet, the shower doesn’t look like it’s been cleaned for months and a wall in the bedroom has been painted in a different colour and it’s a mess.

Uh oh… let the headache commence!

The tenant denies causing the damage, but you know it wasn’t there when they moved in. However, unless you’ve documented the condition of the carpet, sofa and walls in an inventory before the tenant moved in, get ready to start paying out.

What is an inventory?

It’s a detailed report about the property, fittings and furnishings. It details things like cleanliness, contents and the condition of the premises prior to a tenant moving in and if it’s done right it will list every internal wall, architrave, door, window and any external features like a garden, garage or shed.  Basically every item in the property should be accounted for right down to little things like doorbells, letterboxes, electric switches.  It’s often supplemented with pictures and provided to both parties at the start of a tenancy agreement.

Also known as a schedule of condition, a thorough inventory should rate different aspects of the property from ‘poor’ to ‘excellent’ and note any particular areas of wear & tear or damage that already exists.

Why is it so important?

While it’s not a legal requirement, it is essential. Yet many landlords fail to do it. Or they simply go through the motions and record only the bare basics.

Unfortunately, disputes between tenants and landlords are common. Especially at the end of a tenancy.

And now that deposits must be held in tenancy deposit schemes they will not accept a dispute claim without an inventory being present at the commencement of the tenancy.  So if a tenant does not agree with a claim for cleaning or damages a landlord can’t just withhold part or all of the deposit.  Instead, the dispute must be officially resolved, and an inventory is critical to help reach a solution.

When should an inventory be compiled?

No more than a few days before the tenant moves themselves or any of their possessions into the property, ideally on the day of the move-in is best.

Who should do an inventory?

The inventory is the landlord’s responsibility. You can do it yourself, ask your agent or organise a professional inventory company to perform it. Using a third party to carry out the inventory is preferential as they are impartial to both parties.  You should keep a copy of the inventory and provide one to the tenant. Both parties should sign and date the inventory so that you’re in agreement.

At the end of the tenancy, the inventory should be revisited so the condition of the property and any contents can be checked, allowing for fair wear and tear.

It can also be a useful reference for landlord inspections during the tenancy period.

Is an inventory necessary for an unfurnished property?

Yes. An inventory is always necessary.

From flooring to kitchen cupboards, garden fences to plug sockets – an inventory details the minutiae of a rental property and the condition of every aspect.   In most inventories the meter readings will also be recorded.

If you’re searching for new tenants in Preston, Leyland, Chorley or East Lancashire, get in touch with our lettings specialists at PR Lettings & Management.