The Importance of an Inventory to you as a Tenant
Even though an inventory is not a legal requirement, most landlords use one to manage disputes that may arise at the end of the tenancy. Your deposit is secured, to some extent, by the contents of the inventory document. In the rush and excitement to move into a new property, it can be something that is seen as yet another bit of paperwork to plod through but it is vitally important that a small amount of time is devoted to it to ensure its accuracy.
The deposit is held in one of two ways: either in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme or by the letting agent, in a client-funds account, under the protection of an insurance policy. Be sure to know which scheme the landlord is operating under and ask to see the insurance documentation if that is the route they have taken.
The deposit will be used to make good any damage that may have occurred under your tenancy. The level of damage or loss will be assessed by the agent or a third party and the principal document they will usually refer back to is the inventory. It needs to have been composed with good quality pictures and accurate descriptions. If you do not agree with the assessment, then there should be an arbitration process with an external independent body that you should be able to follow. Again, find out what the letting agent/landlord has in place should such an event arise. The external body will also usually refer back to the inventory/check-in/check-out documentation.
At the time of moving in you should have been taken through a check-in process and further given a few days – 5 working days is usual – to make any further amendments to the document. Some items only come to light once you have moved in and time is available to properly assess the property. Take the opportunity to report back with good quality images. Ask to see the updated document with your changes embedded in it.
The inventory covers, or should cover, everything, including any furniture or furnishings that come with the property such as curtains, a cooker, fridge, sofa, chairs, tables, and so on. It should describe each item and most importantly its condition - whether there are scratches on furniture, a tear on the fabric of a sofa, a worn patch on a carpet, a damaged window frame, or whatever else is apparent.
This is why you need to check everything in depth when you move in. Ideally, the inventory should be taken the day or two before your move or on the day itself, and if at all possible, you should be present at the time. This is because you can point out anything that the landlord or his agent has missed as you go through the property together.
Many landlords today make use of our free software to help them with the inventory. They will also usually undertake inspections every few months by appointment, using our free periodic inspection report software.The purpose of a periodic inspection again can benefit both you as the tenant, and the landlord. It gives the landlord the opportunity to check that everything is as it should be and that you have not caused any damage, and it also gives you the chance to point out any works which might need doing, such as a leaking drain, a faulty boiler, or anything else which might need attention or repair, and which is the responsibility of your landlord. The landlord is responsible for the general fabric of the property.
The free periodic inspection report software that we provide at Reports2Go helps the landlord or their agent to quickly identify any issues. This is for the benefit of both of you.
Dan, 22 January 2021
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