Giving your Feedback on an Inventory as a Tenant
If you are a tenant as opposed to a homeowner, you need to know about inventories. They are important to you because they can determine whether or not you get your full deposit back at the end of the tenancy.
An inventory is an in-depth report on the property that you are renting and its condition, together with everything that is within it, whether the property is unfurnished, part furnished, or fully furnished. Even an unfurnished property has a bath, handbasin, kitchen sink, toilet, windows, doors, and so on and they may be in perfect condition or the basin might have a chip for instance. If the basin does have a chip, it is important that this is noted on the inventory so that the landlord cannot later claim that the chip was your fault.
Equally, if the handbasin is perfect on the day that you move in, and when you move out there is a chip on it, then the landlord is perfectly entitled to claim for repair/replacement from your deposit because the damage was caused while you were occupying the property.
Inventory is often created by an inventory clerk who does this for a living. Alternatively, it may be carried out by the landlord in person or by a letting agent. The format of an inventory may differ from one to the next, but the basic information will be the same.
The inventory is important because it is an account of the way everything looked before you moved in. Ideally, you should be present when the inventory is carried out because then both you and the person carrying it out can agree on any damage, wear and tear on a carpet, a scratch or scuff on the fridge door, and so on.
Many inventory clerks and letting agents today use an app that we have produced at Reports2Go. They download this to their mobile or tablet, and they can use it to make notes as they go, either by text, or using it in audio mode which they can type up afterwards and produce a free property condition report. The app prompts them as they go from room to room so that they don’t miss anything and at the same time helps to speed up the process.
If you are unable to be present when the inventory is carried out then you will be given a copy of it and asked to check through everything carefully in the first few days of your tenancy, usually a week or so. It is important that you do this so that you can agree with what has been written down. If you agree with the inventory, then you will be asked to sign it.
When you have the inventory, take some time to go through everything very carefully. And that does mean everything. Check carpets for wear, or marks, and the same with curtains. Any broken floorboards or cracks on the ceiling? Are there any mould or mildew marks, especially in the bathroom? Run the taps to check for pressure and water quality. You should run the taps anyway because the property will have been empty for some while, and it is possible for Legionnaires Disease to build up in water pipes or tanks in only a few days.
Check the electrical appliances and sockets. Is everything in working order? Any cracks or chips in the sink or tiling on the walls? Check cupboards for doors that stick or are warped.
Any chips or cracks on window frames? It is a good idea to take photographs of anything that appears to differ from the inventory report.
Go outside and check the drains. Are the gutters OK? Do they need cleaning out? Any cracks on the walls?
If the inventory clerk or letting agent has used our app to produce a free property condition report, then it should be accurate. However, there is always room for human error.
If you do not agree with the inventory, then you have every right to make amendments to the report. This is also where photographs can come in handy. You will need to sign the inventory in order to show that you agree with it, so before you do that, ask the landlord or letting agent to countersign any amendments that you have made so that there will not be disagreement at the end of your tenancy.
Gary, 12 March 2021
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