An inventory is vitally important, regardless of whether you are letting furnished or unfurnished property. It will help to protect both the landlord and the tenant and is sometimes known as a statement of condition.
Be as careful as possible when preparing an inventory. A couple of considerations to bear in mind are to make a full and detailed list of furniture and belongings in the property when the tenant moves in and to note down the condition of these pieces. Don’t forget to detail and list the doors, windows and carpets, which can sometimes be overlooked.
Provide as much detail as possible; for example, if an inventory simply says ‘four chairs’, the reader is in the dark as to their type, condition, quality, and whether they match.
After you have drawn up the document, get the tenants’ agreement before they move in and ensure they have a copy of their own to refer to.
When the tenant moves out, the same inventory should be produced and checked. Protection is ensured provided both parties have agreed the document and it is detailed and thorough.
Lots of landlords take photographs to register the condition of a property before it is let. This can be a good idea, especially if costly furnishings are in place; however, the courts do not always accept digital photographs. It is therefore advisable to get them printed; in addition, ensure that you and the tenant both sign and date the photographs to verify their accuracy.
Sometimes agents and landlords also take videos; however, these are of limited value when it comes to a dispute since they are not as easy to work with.
Producing useful inventories
A detailed and thorough inventory can help to avoid disputes, particularly those regarding a deposit being returned. You should also keep all receipts if you have any work carried out.
Property inventory software from a provider such as https://inventorybase.co.uk/ can streamline your portfolio administration with IT solutions. You may be able to schedule visits and client bookings, with completing inventory reports and ‘right to rent’ documents made simple.
Should a dispute arise over the condition of the property that goes to court or to a deposit scheme adjudicator, the onus is upon you to try to prove the claim.