Inventory – A Guide for Tenants

When you rent a property in the UK, your landlord, or his or her letting agent, will ask you for a deposit. The purpose of the deposit is so that if you cause any damage to the property - and in the case of a furnished property, its contents as well – the landlord can cover the cost of repairs from the deposit when you move out. The deposit remains your money all the while you are in the property, so it is important that you take care not to cause damage, whether accidental or not, if you want to get all your deposit back when you move out.

At the point when you move in, the landlord or his agent should undertake what is known as an inventory report which lists everything in the property, including the building itself – walls, doors, ceilings, windows, and so on – and most importantly, their condition. The inventory is a vital piece of information because it details the condition of everything at the point you move in, often including photographs, so that it can be compared with the condition when you move out.

It is critical from your point of view that the inventory is accurate about everything when you move in. For instance, if there is a fridge included with your rent and there is a small dent on the door, that dent must be noted on the inventory. If it is not, the landlord could claim later on that the door was perfectly fine when you moved in and that, therefore, you must have caused the damage, and accordingly they are entitled to compensation from your deposit. As important as ensuring contents are accurately described is the taking of meter readings. The report should show the values for all metered services.

Ideally, you should be present when the landlord or agent takes the inventory which should be done on the day that you move in, or just before. When you are present you can point out anything that should be noted and see that it is all included on what is known as the check-in report.

Of course, it may not be possible for you to be present – and that is understandable. The landlord or their representative should give you a copy of the inventory so that you can go through the property and satisfy yourself that it is accurate. You should be given a few days to do this.

If there is anything that is damaged that has not been noted on the inventory you should make a note of it, taking photographs if possible, and inform the landlord or agent so that the inventory can be corrected.

Taking inventory can be quite a long and complicated process. Traditionally it was done by an inventory clerk with a notepad and pen on a clipboard, and a camera to take photographs. As you can imagine, it could take a few hours, or even longer, so today many inventory clerks use the free inventory report software that we supply them at Reports2Go.

This is downloaded to a mobile or tablet, and the clerk can type their notes into the app as they go through the property. The software also has a dictation mode which means that the inventory can be even faster. The clerk dictates their notes as they move from room to room, so they may comment “chip on the paintwork on the door” or “dirty marks on the skirting board” as they move around. They can also take photographs using the camera in the mobile or tablet. The software will also give them prompts as they go so that they don’t miss anything.

When the clerk has completed the inventory, they upload it to their portal on our server.

Our software makes the whole process so much quicker and easier for the inventory clerk, and it also makes for extreme accuracy. This is in the best interests of everybody – both tenant and landlord – so that there are no arguments at the point when you vacate.

Panos, 07 August 2020