The importance of inventory checks and regular inspections

An inventory is a full and detailed report which outlines the complete contents of a property including all furniture, fixtures and fittings, crockery and kitchenware. Included within the inventory should be a schedule of condition. The schedule of condition is a record of the condition of each room within the property including details of any visible knocks, marks, chips, stains or damage.

It is recommended that a landlord carries out a new inventory check and schedule of condition before each new tenant moves in. This will provide each new tenant with a true and fair account of what contents are provided and the condition of the property at the start of their agreement. It is advisable go through the inventory check and the schedule of condition in the presence of the new tenant so that all marks and damage can be pointed out and both parties can sign their names to show their agreement of what is found. Taking photos of specific rooms or furnishings is recommended as it provides proof of the condition of the item/room before the tenant moved in. Date stamping photos can be particularly useful but if this is not possible ask the tenant to sign and date the back of each photo to confirm they agree it provides a true and fair account.

The inventory and schedule of condition form part of the legally binding contract between landlord and tenant. It is important to ensure that the report is signed by both parties and a copy given to both. If there are any amendments or additions throughout the course of the tenancy agreement these should be agreed and initialled by both parties.

Landlords should carry out routine inspections of their property at regular but pre-agreed dates and times. This allows the landlord the chance to make sure the property is being well looked after and gives the tenant an incentive to keep the property in good condition. Dates and times of an inspection should always be agreed in advance as the tenant should be in attendance during any inspection and as a matter or courtesy should have the time to tidy up before hand.

The inventory and schedule of condition are particularly important when the time comes for the tenant to move out. The landlord can use these reports as a point of reference to determine whether anything is missing from the property and whether any new damage has been done. Any discrepancies between moving in and moving out will allow the landlord to reclaim money for these losses from the security deposit. It is advisable to do the final inventory check on the day the tenant is due to move out. Wait until after they have removed their personal possessions but carry out the check before they actually leave the premises. This will allow a thorough inspection to be completed and removes the chance of a dispute occurring at a later date.

At Tepilo, we believe no one knows a home better than its owner, so we recommend landlords take the time to run a full inventory and schedule of condition themselves.

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