Rental inventory checklists can be a real nightmare sometimes. Unless you’re working with an agency or you’ve been in the letting business for many years, it’s probably overwhelming to create one that will serve its purpose with every property. It’s difficult to say what exactly to put there and how to format it since every property is different.

But fear not! In this article, you will learn everything you need and, to make things even better, we’ve actually included a free inventory template for landlords you can use at any time, no matter the property!

Table of Contents:

So, if you:

  • Are a landlord;
  • Want to ensure that your property is in good condition even after your tenants leave;
  • Are wondering what a tenancy inventory is and why you need one,

Then keep on reading, because this is the post for you!

What is a rental property inventory?

You might be asking yourself “What is an inventory anyway?”. In short, it’s a report that documents the state of the property before a tenancy begins.

The longer answer is: a tenancy inventory is an in-depth document, signed by both the landlord and the tenant, that clearly states what furniture, fixtures, etc. are present in the property at the start of the tenancy, how many items there are, and what their condition is.

It is usually a form, accompanied by photos, that the landlord can refer to at the end of the tenancy to determine whether there are any damages that the tenant is responsible for. If any damages are present, then the landlord can demand payment and, if the tenant refuses, can pursue legal action, as he has documented proof.

Basically, a property inventory is an incentive for the tenants to keep their rental home in good condition so that they don’t have to cough up a large sum of money at the end.

So, we now know what an inventory is, but…

Why is it important to get an inventory for a rental property?

Well, imagine if you inspect your property after a tenant leaves and you find that they have wrecked the whole place. There are burns on the carpet, the oven doesn’t work, some bannisters are broken, you find a gaping hole in the wall, it’s an overall mess.

Naturally, as a landlord, you can resort to keeping their deposit and, if the damages are severe, even seek reimbursement. However, you’ll find this extremely difficult to achieve if the tenant disputes your claim and you have no way of backing it up. Any adjudicator will require evidence that supports your claims and if you can’t present it, the odds aren’t likely to be in your favour.

An inventory for landlords aims to do just that – minimise (or entirely eliminate) disputes and provide concrete evidence of the property’s initial state should a dispute arise.

While it might not yet be a legal requirement for a landlord to provide a tenancy inventory, it’s in everyone’s best interest to perform one so that you can avoid awkward situations once you decide to part ways.

Should you have an inventory for an unfurnished rental property?

It doesn’t matter if your property is furnished or not, it’s in your best interest to prepare an inventory report in all cases. Furniture is not the only thing that can be damaged in a home.

So, you still need to include the same things in a tenancy inventory for an unfurnished property as you would for a furnished one, you just won’t have any actual furniture to worry about.

Now that you know more about the purpose of an inventory report, let’s go over…

What to include in a rental property inventory list

So, what is supposed to go into a landlord inventory anyway?

Well, anything that might become the object of a dispute later on. So, if you’re letting a furnished property, you should note down what furniture you’re providing, how many pieces there are, and what their condition is.

The same goes for any cookware and dinnerware – write down the exact number of items so that you know if anything goes missing. You also need to note the decorative state of the home – carpets, painted walls, floors, fixtures, cracks, anything really. The more detailed the rental inventory is, the better.

Here is a more detailed list of what you need to include in an inventory for landlords:

  • The full names of everyone involved in the tenancy.
    This can be the landlord, the tenants, and the letting agent.
  • Information on the performance of the inventory.
    Include the name of the person conducting it, as well as the date.
  • A detailed report of the decorative and structural state of the property.
    For the walls and ceilings – note down any cracks, holes, scratches, and structural issues. Add the condition of the floors and whether they are carpeted, tiled or hardwood. Include any fixtures and fittings, such as lights, sockets, taps, bathroom fittings, etc. Inspect the roof for missing tiles, rotten supports, and other issues. Check the gutters for blockages and damages. Note down any doors, windows, and blinds, as well as their condition.
  • Inspection of water and heating.
    Check the condition of any water taps, drains, etc. Note the colour of the water that flows through and if blockages, rust or limescale are present. Make sure heating and hot water are working – check and note down the state of any boilers and radiators.
  • Furniture, storage units and appliances.
    You should detail any furniture and appliances you provide in the property inventory report, as well as their condition. This includes every item inside the property that you have provided – beds, sofas, cookers, fridges, tables and chairs, cookware, cabinets, shelves, etc.
  • Garden.
    Include the state of the garden, any outdoor furniture, plants, etc.
  • Additional buildings.
    Any sheds, outhouses, garages, etc. and their condition should be noted.
  • Meter readings.
    This can come in handy when there is a bills dispute.
  • Photographs.
    You should absolutely support your report with photographs to make sure the detail is up to par.
  • Signatures, dates, and initials.
    Everyone involved should sign and date the tenancy inventory at the end, as well as initial each page.

How to prepare a property inventory report

Well, the best way to perform a rental property inventory is to hire a professional inventory clerk. The experts know exactly what they need to include and how to document it, so you can be sure that nothing will end up missing from the report.

However, if you want to go the DIY route, here’s how you can handle the task:

  • Prepare the inventory report on the day that the tenant is to move in to ensure the documented state of the property is exactly how they receive it.
  • Perform the inventory check before the tenant moves their belongings in, so you don’t accidentally include something they own.
  • Go room to room, along with the tenant, documenting any damages and the condition of each item (see our list above).
  • Take high-resolution, well-lit photos of each item and any damages from multiple angles. Include a couple of broad photos of each room, too.
  • Write detailed descriptions and reference specific photos in them.
  • When the inventory is complete, two copies should be prepared, agreed upon and signed by both parties. Issue one copy to the landlord, and another to the tenant. This should all happen before the tenant moves in.

So there you have it! Make things easier for both yourself and your tenants and always prepare a rental property inventory report to avoid any disputes and arguments at the end.

Want to make sure your property inventory is done right?

As we mentioned above, the best course of action is to hire a professional inventory clerk to ensure the job is done right.

That’s why Fantastic Services offers an inventory report service you can rely on. The experienced clerks we work with will make sure they include everything and that they overlook nothing.

Protect yourself and your tenants from disputes – book your inventory survey today!

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Takeaways

  • A rental property inventory is a report that documents the condition of the home and any furnishings and appliances included.
  • Its purpose is to prevent disputes between the landlord and tenant, as well as act as evidence should one arise.
  • It’s important to include everything you provide as a landlord in the inventory report.
  • You should perform an inventory before the tenant moves in.
  • Both the landlord and tenant should agree on the detailed report before they sign it.
  • It’s not currently required by law to perform a tenancy inventory, but it benefits everyone involved.

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Image source: Shutterstock / paulaphoto

Posted in Home Improvement

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