Is a Check-in Report Really Necessary?

A check-in report is essential for both the landlord and tenant. While the rental contract is a cornerstone of any healthy relationship between these two parties, an inventory document made at check-out will help to reduce any unnecessary fallout at the end of the contract, ensuring fairness through the end of the rental term.

Typically, landlords and property managers are more than aware of this with a decent knowledge of how the process works and its importance. However, it’s not uncommon for tenants to be complacent or even against conducting a check-in report. Some see this as a “tool” that can be used to make them pay for things that they shouldn’t need to.

Yet, despite this challenge, conducting a check-in report is one of the easiest ways to avoid arguments and disputes when it comes to the end of a contract. As long as both sides are aware of how it works and can verify the contents of it, it should help to protect both the tenants and the landlord from paying more than what they have to when it comes to repairs, replacements, renovations or cleaning at the end of a tenancy.

What is a Property Check-in Report?

Check-in reports record the condition of all items inside a property at the start of a tenancy. This will systematically list every important item in the property (sometimes with the help of dictation software and an inventory application) from the appliances to the flooring, and make a detailed note about how it looks, any damage that already exists and its overall state. It is combined with the inventory to be an accurate report of condition at the point the tenant moves in. There may have been a significant delay between the inventory report having been created and the time at which the tenant moves in. The Check-in report bridges that gap.

This then becomes a benchmark which can be referenced at the end of the tenancy. If certain items have been damaged or broken beyond what is deemed reasonable wear and tear, then it would be the tenants responsibility to pay for any repairs or replacements.

The document also protects tenants from having to pay for things they didn’t break or damage. For instance, with a detailed record and photographs of existing damage to a door or window when they moved in, they can’t be forced to fix these items when it’s time for them to move out.

Ideally, two identical inventory reports are performed during every tenancy. One is conducted before the tenant moves in, which is normally referred to as the inventory. And the second is performed at the end, also known as the check-out report.
The role of the first item is to set clear measure of the condition of the property of the maintenance required by the tenant while that of the second is to highlight any needed action to be taken by each party before another tenant moves in. Sometimes this will lead simply to some light repair work or just a deep clean, however, other reports may indicate that damp needs to be tended to, or a kitchen appliance needs to be replaced. The two reports should help to determine who should pay for such a task.

How Should it be Conducted?

The check-in report is more of a process that results in a digital document that both sides have access to and sign off on. Once completed, it becomes a kind of agreement about the condition the property is in at the start of the tenancy.

If a disagreement leads to a dispute over hygiene or other matters, the inventory will be the most significant piece of evidence that can settle the issue, where in some cases, an adjudicator will review the inventory and check-in and make their judgement.

Most situations don’t reach this stage and the reports are enough on their own to remind both parties how the property looked at the start of the tenancy and attribute responsibility to the correct person.

It is vital that both reports are diligently created and carefully read by both parties. If any damage is missed out on the check-in report, the tenant might find themselves in a difficult situation where they could be asked to pay for the damage they have not caused.

If there are any inaccuracies, these must be reported immediately to the inventory clerk or property manager, ideally before the document is taken as final. However, even if damage is noticed at a later date, it can still be useful for tenants to raise this as early as possible.

Assuming that the landlord already knows about the damage can lead to disagreements in the long-term. This is especially the case for expensive tenancies that run for several years, as the landlord may have little idea about what state the property was in when the lease started.

Get Protected and Avoid Disputes

If you are a landlord or a tenant renting a property, then the property inventory and check-in are important documents. We recommend approaching this requirement proactively so that you can avoid disputes from occurring. And if you are concerned about the time it takes to perform a check-in report every time, learn how you can streamline the process with our inventory/check-in dictation software!

Panos, 02 July 2021

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