- Heyworth Gordon
Creating an Inventory for Your Rental Property
One of the most common questions that we receive is: Do I really need to do a check-in inventory? What’s it for?
Creating an Inventory Document
In the simplest terms, an inventory check-in document is created just before the start of a tenancy in order to accurately detail the fixtures in a property. This is done in clear, simple language – keeping in mind condition of the item and the overall level of cleanliness in each space.
If there is any damage at the end of the Tenancy, the first thing the arbitrator will ask for is the Check-In Inventory document – without this, there’s a high chance that any claims for damages will be dismissed. Bottom line, no inventory, no protection against damages.
When creating one, we would recommend working with a standardised scale that helps to keep things simple, for example:
Definition of Condition
Brand New, Newly Painted
The item is brand new, or in the case of decor, has been newly painted. Must be supported by evidence.
Indistinguishable from new, but lack in presence of packaging or receipts
Almost as new, so only one or two minor blemishes of a cosmetic nature
Light wear or cosmetic blemishes only like pressure marks on carpets
More extensive wear and tear, for example several small light usage marks on walls
Average / Damaged
Wear and tear is immediately noticeable and diminishes the cosmetic appearance
The item has extensive wear and tear, or is dirty to the point where it may not be possible to clean it properly
Most often found with lights, but could also apply to other electrical appliances such as ovens or fans
Anything which could cause harm or injury to someone, for example electrical hazards, dangerous stairs or steps
Each item listed in the inventory should have a “condition” associated to it along with a "description", for example:
Ceiling presents with some light hairline cracks and discolouration in the NW corner of the room
Very minor outlines of fingerprints around light switch, to right of door.Just visible staining near radiator inlet pipe, located under window.
Hard wood flooring
Light scratching is visible in various locations, some dust can be seen in the corners of the room
This must be done in every space in the property, including rooms, hallways and gardens. Each items needs to be listed separately: door, doorknob, door frame, threshold, etc.
Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need to take photos of the entire property. These should be clear images that give context on their location – just taking a picture of a white wall with a mark on it won’t help you at the end of a tenancy. On average, Heyworth Gordon takes approximately 200 photos of a two bedroom flat and approximately 350 images of a four bedroom house. As there’s no cost to produce these, so, the more the merrier.
All of this information should be neatly delivered to the Tenant at the start of the tenancy in one single document. Remember to include the meter readings and their locations in the property as well.
You should give the Tenant a period of time (between one to two weeks) to review the inventory and allow them the opportunity to amend or correct, where applicable.
To avoid issues at the end of the tenancy, it’s best to keep in contact with your tenants throughout their time in the property. Maintaining a good relationship is key to negotiating any issues you may find further down the line.
For the health of the property, we would also recommend performing interim-inspections, with your Tenant’s permission. This helps you to catch issues early and repair them before they get out of hand.
End of Tenancy
Whenever the tenancy ends, you will then need to go back into the property to repeat this process – creating a check-out inventory. Again, this should include both written commentary, supported with photos, to highlight any changes. Images should be taken at the same angle to show any changes, deterioration, or additional damage.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to prove that the tenant‘s actions have caused the damage – be that something as simple as cleaning or more complicated like broken appliances.
Any proposed request for compensation must be fair and go beyond “standard wear and tear”. For example, if you accepted a family with small children into your property, it’s only reasonable to expect to find little stickers on the wall, along with crayon marks.
If you’re unable to successfully negotiate with your tenants then you can find a dispute resolution process to assist – myDeposits will offer this if the deposit is house with them in a custodial account.
Heyworth Gordon can jump in at any point in the process to help – please contact us to find out more.