The importance of an inventory cannot be understated. This is the document that will either get your property put back to its previous condition or costs you literally thousands in repairs. Just to put it into perspective the most I know that a landlord has had to pay to have their property put back in a lettable state, as he didn’t have an inventory, was £15,000.
The tenant completely lied and stood and told the judge that the property was in that condition when they moved in and without any inventory or evidence to the contrary, the judge had to rule in the tenant favour.
An inventory is a schedule of condition of the property when the tenant moves in. We also carry out an inspection when the tenant moves out and we compare and contrast them to ensure no damage has taken place.
You can carry out an inspection by downloading free templates and there are lots of freebies on the internet but in my experience you get what you pay for and I could pretty much rip to shred any inventory that is paper based if I had to, so imagine what a half decent solicitor on the other side could do.
Its best to get a cheap or free software, if you insist on doing it yourself. Plenty of good ones out there, Google is your friend.
What to look for? Make sure the photos are date stamped. This stops the tenant saying “The window was already broken” or “it wasn’t like that when we left” Damped photos eliminate any doubt.
The better ones have latitude and longitude so they can let you know exactly where in the world you were when the inventory was carried out. This again is vital as a common defence to the inventory was that the landlord pretended to carry it out whilst he was off site. This eliminates that argument.
Some even allow the tenant to sign there and then which shows that the tenant agrees to the condition of the property.
One thing you need to be on the checkout is very factual and leave the emotion out of it. You need to do this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the tenant may be there and also might be following you around, checking on your every move. If you start saying “tenant has made a mess, the scruffy so and so” then they won’t be too happy. Secondly, if this needs to be relied upon in court, they will want to deal in facts and not emotions so keep colourful and emotional language out of it.
Always send a copy of the inventory to the tenant as soon as possible. Give them the chance to fix any defects before you start talking about taking monies from the deposit to fix things.
If any landlords would like any help or advice, and remember you don’t even have to be a customer of ours, then please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org