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Why Do Landlords Have to Provide an Inventory?
Before embarking into a tenancy landlords and tenants alike should be aware of the importance of curating a comprehensive and accurate property inventory. This is because the document will not only provide the tenant with some level of accountability if damage occurs inside the rental over the course of the fixed term, but similarly will also help the occupants refute any deductions that are being unfairly made by the owner come the end of the tenancy.
What Is a Property Inventory Report?
Simply put, a property inventory report is a list of the contents of the rental property, detailing the furnishings, fixtures and appliances, alongside a description of their working order. Should any disputes arise between the landlords and tenant regarding any deductions from the tenancy deposit then either party will be able to refer to the inventory report, providing the evidence to the impartial dispute resolution service for consideration.
What Is the Purpose of a Property Inventory Report?
owners should ensure to carry out a property inventory report before each tenancy commences as this document allows them to accurately any deterioration in the property’s condition over the course of the tenancy. This is essential as if come the end of the tenancy’s fixed term the landlord wishes to make any deductions from the amount of the security deposit that is being returned to the tenant, they will need to substantially price that the damage took place during the tenancy. It goes without saying that having a detailed description of the rental opportunities condition from the outset of the tenancy, accompanied by photographs of any appliances and areas of wear, will irrefutably show any changes in condition. Similarly, if the occupants of the rental property believe that the deductions being proposed by the landlords are not warranted then they will be able to provide evidence to their claims by showing dated photographs of the applicable furnishings or affected areas.
What Should a Rental Inventory Include?
The inventory looks at each room in the property in turn. The items there are described, as well as their condition. In many cases, photographs are also taken (and which can prove excellent evidence in cases of dispute).
- Contents – Once a room has been highlighted, the inventory should describe the furniture there, as well as the flooring, curtains and any appliances.
- Fixtures and fittings – This includes the door handles, taps, sinks, locks, doors and cabinets.
- Décor –This covers the paintwork, wallpaper, window panes and door frames
- Safety – Any fire alarms, an intercom system, carbon monoxide detector etc
- Exterior – If the rental property is a house then it may have a garden with a hut and/or garage, trees, plants and a swing etc.
Some landlords like to include dates and certificates of inspection for gas and electric checks. A copy of the EPC is also regularly included.
Is an Unsigned Property Inventory Valid?
In order for the property inventory to be considered valid it is essential that the document is signed by both the agents or owner, and the occupants of the rental property. If the report is left unsigned this is typical because the new occupants believe that the initial inventory is missing vital information, or has not fully detailed any damage found across the property. In this circumstance the occupant of the property should curate a list of the missing items, ensuring to provide this to the landlord or letting agency for it to be added to the existing report, allowing all the sign the inventory once in agreement.
Can a Landlord Do Their Own Inventory?
With the many upfront costs that come with letting out a rental property, it is not difficult to see why some owners choose to carry out their own inventory report. Afterall, how difficult can taking a tenant around a property and taking some photographs be? Well, turning to a professional inventory service will ensure that the report is carried out in full compliance with renting regulations, whilst containing sufficient detail to offer use to both the landlord and tenant should a dispute arise. Further to this whilst many owners will choose to take hands-on approach with their portfolio, for new and accidental landlords, or those that are not full-time landlords, may see the benefit in not only recruiting the services of a management company but having the establishment of the tenancy also handled, including the inventory.
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