As a landlord, making an inventory is one of the most important parts of letting out a property, but how do you know if you’re getting it right? If you need answers, we’re here to help, with everything you need to know about making a reliable inventory.
What is it?
An inventory is a list of everything included in the property you are letting out – from furniture to carpets, curtains to appliances – and the condition it is in when the tenants arrive. Essentially it acts as a record of the state of the property, so when the tenants eventually move out you can resolve any disputes over damages with solid evidence from the start of the tenancy. If you need to deduct an amount from the tenants’ deposit to cover repairs, the inventory is key to proving what you’re entitled to.
Who makes it?
The inventory can be made by you, the landlord, or by a property manager or letting agent acting on your behalf. Sometimes the inventory is made before the tenants move in, and they must sign it and send it back to you once they have arrived and checked everything. You can also make the inventory with the tenants by walking around the property together, or you could hire an independent inventory clerk – an expert in the service – to make the inventory for you.
How do you make one?
The easiest way to make an accurate inventory is to divide up your property by room (and be sure to include outside areas for which tenants will be responsible, such as gardens, garages and the property’s facade). You could use a scoring system to rate the condition of each item, and you should pay particular attention to any existing damage such as stains on the carpet, dents in the plaster or cracks in the tiling. If there is damage, it’s important to get clear, well-lit photographs of it so you will be able to tell if it gets worse during the tenancy, and you could even record the entire process on video. If you already have an inventory of the property from a previous tenancy, make sure it’s up to date by crossing off any items that are no longer included and adding any new ones.
What should be included?
Aside from the details about fixtures and fittings and their conditions, there are several other things you should include in your inventory. Make sure you note down the date when the inventory was made and the people who were present when you made it. It’s a good idea to take meter readings and list other useful things like the number of keys provided with the property and the serial numbers of any appliances. Be sure to include gas or electricity safety certificates, an Energy Performance Certificate if you have one, and receipts for any work done on the property (eg: carpet cleaning) before the tenants moved in.
What happens afterwards?
The most crucial part of the inventory is getting all the parties involved to sign and date it and initial each page – that includes you or your property manager and the tenants. If the tenants aren’t available to sign it straight away, make sure they do so very soon after moving in. Once the inventory has been signed, give everybody a copy, and keep one for yourself in a safe place.
Making an inventory might seem like a pain, but get it right and you could save yourself an even bigger headache down the line. We hope this has helped you tackle your next inventory!
Are you a landlord looking to let in Bristol? Contact Gough Quarters today to find out more.
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