Landlords Guide to Inventories
Whether your property’s furnished or unfurnished, it’s in the interest of all parties for you as the landlord to provide an inventory (also known as a schedule of condition) when your tenants first move in. This is so that in the unfortunate event that you find your property damaged beyond fair wear and tear, you have proof that your tenants are responsible.
Although you don’t legally have to provide an inventory for your property, another benefit of producing one is that it sets the tenants expectations at the beginning of the tenancy – making them aware of the fact that you’re on the ball when it comes to the state of your property, so that they know what’s required of them in caring for it.
Who should create the inventory?
You have a couple of options here – you can either take it upon yourself to create the inventory, or hire a professional service to produce one for you. There are pros and cons to both options, as creating one yourself will be time consuming and may be less thorough but will save you paying a professional to do it, whereas a professionally-made one will usually be more detailed and therefore protect you more in the event of a dispute – however there is of course the added cost that comes with this.
What to include in a schedule of condition
You should include in a schedule of condition:
- A list of the whole property’s contents, including desks, beds, mattresses, lampshades, curtains and any other furniture you’ve provided for your tenants to use.
- A list of any internal features, such as walls, fireplaces, flooring and stair bannisters along with a rating system grading their overall condition. Any noticeable damage should also be mentioned - for example, a broken stair post on the first floor, a gouge in the kitchen worktop, or burn marks in the carpet.
- The state of the exterior of your property should also be documented. For example, noting any broken paving stones or loose guttering.
- It’s recommended that you also include photographic evidence, which can be used as a reference in the event of a dispute.
- After this has all been written up, it should be signed by both parties to ensure your tenant is happy that it’s correct, and two copies should be made.
But you’ll need to be familiar with fair wear and tear
Although it’s natural to want your property to remain in the same condition it was rented out in, you’ve got to make allowances for the natural deterioration which takes place over time - known as fair wear and tear. To find out more about what would and wouldn’t be included in fair wear and tear, please read our landlord’s guide to deposits and guarantors.
To find out more about inventories - read the ins and outs of inventories.