The Importance of an Inventory for a Tenant
If you are a tenant rather than a homeowner, an inventory is of great value. Under the Tenant Deposit Scheme you are required to pay a deposit to your landlord or letting agent when you move in, and the inventory is key to how much or how little of it you get back when you move out. The deposit protects the landlord against any damage that you may cause to their property during your tenancy and they have the right to claim back any expense incurred as a result so that they can fix the damage before letting the property to another tenant. That is all fair enough.
Equally, it is fair that you should not have to pay for any damage which was pre-existing at the time you moved in. Nor should you have to pay for wear and tear. For instance, we all walk upon carpets and this causes them to wear. That is part and parcel of the landlord’s side of things and you should not be expected to pay just because the carpet has worn down in the normal scheme of things. However, there are some rogue landlords who may try to pass off wear and tear as damage caused by their tenant.
This is why the inventory is important to you. When you pay your deposit and move in, the landlord should provide you with an inventory which is an in-depth report on the condition of everything before you took over. Ideally, this inventory should be carried out with you present on the day or day before you move in, although this may not always be possible.
If you can be present, so much the better, because both you and the landlord or their agent can agree on the condition of everything at the beginning of the tenancy. However, if this is not possible, the landlord should provide you with a copy of the inventory and ask you to sign it. Before doing so, you should check that everything is actually as it is stated in the inventory. So you need to carry out a thorough inspection of the property with the inventory in hand when you move in. Most letting agents will allow you a week, or so, to make any comments before you sign the inventory.
The inventory may be carried out by the landlord in person, by their agent, or by a third-party company which specialises in doing inventory. Some landlords and letting agents prefer to use a third-party because it takes them one step away and they are less likely to be accused by a tenant of favouring the landlord.
However, actually carrying out inventory can be a fairly complicated task. This is particularly so when the property is let furnished, has a garden, outbuildings and so on. All areas, internal and external, should be covered in the document.
This is why the Reports2Go app is so important to landlords and tenants. It is a free inventory service consisting of an app which the inventory clerk – the person taking the inventory – can download to their mobile or tablet and simply type up notes as they walk through the property. The app has an intelligent algorithm which prompts them to check on things as they go. This ensures that they don’t miss anything, which is easily done with only a pen and paper process, and results in the inventory being as accurate as it can possibly be.
Our app can also be used in audio mode, so the inventory clerk can walk through each room dictating notes into the app on their phone and can then upload them to a portal from which they can either type them up or have us do it for them.
The result is that you have an inventory which is accurate and with which you can be comfortable, so that there are no disputes when you leave the property.
Gary, 22 May 2020
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