Anyone who has worked within the lettings industry will understand the importance of a thorough inventory for rental properties.
And when landlords skip this vital step, major issues can occur. If you’re left facing serious damage at the end of a tenancy without the proper reports, you may lose out on thousands of pounds.
We explore the power of inventories by highlighting a recent high-profile case featuring a former pop star and £70,000 worth of damage.
Do I Need An Inventory?
Without a detailed inventory, you could be left having to repair damage out of your own pocket. We’ve created a simple guide on the key components to include and why they’re necessary;
Property Management Inventory Checklist
An inventory report must include the following key components;
- A record of meter readings and keys provided
- The condition and cleanliness of each room, including appliances, fixtures and fittings
- A record of the condition of the garden, including any damage
- A signature from the tenant confirming they agree with the contents of the report
- A record of the condition of the mattresses if fully furnished
- Date & time stamped photos of the property and its contents
It must also include essential safety points;
- A record of furniture and furnishing fire safety labels
- Evidence that the Smoke and CO alarms comply with legislation (working order & correct placement)
- A record of loose or frayed carpets, cracked glass or windows, missing keys and inoperable locks
Check Out Report
In addition to the initial inventory report and schedule of condition that takes place when a tenant moves into a rental property, you will also need a check out report when they move out at the end of the tenancy.
Following the final inspection, the check out report should;
- Include a detailed record of the condition of the property
- Clearly show how the property has changed throughout the tenancy (in combination with the initial check in report)
- Include recommended actions for landlords and tenants
This report provides a vital benchmark to help assess any changes to the property from the start of the tenancy to the end.
If any deposit disputes arise, these reports should provide clear evidence to help landlords get a fair return on any losses or repairs required.
Top Reasons for Tenancy Deposit Disputes
Some of the main reason’s disputes occur include;
- Cleaning 54%
- Damage 49%
- Decoration 31%
- Rent 20%
- Gardening 16%
Dealing with Deposit Disputes
The security deposit taken at the start of a tenancy is considered the tenant’s money. This means that it can be tricky for landlords to withhold the deposit in response to damage or loss without significant evidence.
You will need to prove there is damage to your rental property above normal wear and tear in order to claim on the deposit.
That’s why poorly compiled inventory reports are one of the most common reasons landlords lose disputes.
Tip: Always enter the deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme as this is a legally required step!
Celebrity Rental Drama: The Power of Inventories
To demonstrate our point, we’ve got a high profile case study in which a property rental disaster was averted thanks to comprehensive inventory reports.
Former En-Dubz star and X Factor Judge, Tulisa Contostavlos was recently ordered to pay over £70,000 worth in damage to the landlord of her former luxury rental property.
Reported damage to the luxury North London flat included a smashed sink, cigarette burns, stains and doors ripped from hinges. Despite arguing that the damage was normal wear and tear, she was ordered to pay compensation, interest and legal costs to her former landlord.
Key to this case was the presence of a thorough and professional inventory and check-out report.
Clearly, a high rental value is no protection against severe damage, so no matter which end of the market you’re positioned in, covering your back is essential if you want to recover your costs.
Looking for help managing your portfolio of rental properties in London? Find a list of our No Letting Go London offices.
What is Fair Wear and Tear?
It can be problematic working out what is considered fair wear and tear as it differs case by case. Some examples of fair wear and tear include;
- Small scuff marks on walls
- Naturally worn down carpets
- Frayed fabrics
- Faded curtains
- Carpet indentations
However, when we talk about damage this could include;
- Broken locks or doors
- Burn marks or large carpet stains
- Holes in the walls
- Broken windows or furniture
- Poorly painted walls
One of the easiest ways to determine the difference is by commissioning a professional inventory clerk to visit the property and make a detailed report, including photographic imagery at the start of the tenancy.
How To Protect Your Rental Property from Damage
There are a few more steps you can take to protect your rental property;
Regular Property Inspections
Target Long Term Tenants
In addition, targeting long-term tenants who are more likely to treat the property as their home will help to avoid intentional damage.
Keep it Simple
Keep decoration simple and ensure your property is thoroughly clean at the start of the tenancy to avoid any future disputes.
Avoid the Risks with A Professional Inventory Service
You’ve heard the warning, now it’s time to cover your back. One of the easiest ways to protect your investment as a landlord or letting agent is to commission a professional inventory company to undertake comprehensive inventory reports and checks.
Our independent inventory clerks across the country are experienced at providing essential reports, checks and visits to help you stay protected from move in date up until the end of the tenancy agreement.
To find out how we could help, browse our list of professional property inventory services to get started.
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