Landlords and the importance of a good Inventory
Inventories are an important tool for both Tenant and Landlord in order to ensure from the commencement of the let there is clarity between both parties on the condition of the property and the fixtures and fittings. The importance of this document when compiled correctly should not be understated in helping to minimise tenancy deposit disputes at check out time.
The document should describe in detail the current condition of the property (by room) and also the fixtures and fittings. The language and wording use in the document should be made as clear as and straight forward as possible in order for ambuity to be later avoided. We would recommend the following details be captured where applicable:
- Weather conditions on the day
- Item Quantity
- Item Colour
- Item Features
- General Condition
- Tested (particularly in reference to electrical items or White Goods)
It is also wise to evidence each item or room with digital photographs where possible which should be printed off to form part of the Inventory document.
As well as capturing both Landlord and Tenant signatures at the end of the Inventory we would also recommend getting the Tenant to initial each individual page of the document for extra security.
Having once established the condition from the outset of the let we would promote that Landlords continue this good work with completing 6 monthly interim checks. This catches any problems before they arise and the final check-out inventory is completed.
At checkout the inventory then really comes into its own. With tenants who have been in situ several years it is impossible without a clear document to refer back to in order to recall the state and condition of contents and without one disagreements can easily arise through faulty recollection.
Surveys typically show that circa 40% of all deposits are challenged for some level of deduction (dirty Ovens are usually cited as the number one issues as well) and an inventory should help in most cases prevent the stress and hassle of ending up in a Alternative Dispute Resolution.
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