The experts at Belvoir answer the five most commonly asked questions about inventories...
What is an inventory?
“An inventory is a historic snap shot of the condition of a property,” says Wayne Mearns, proprietor of Belvoir Southend-on-Sea. “It’s a good guide to use at the end of a tenancy and helps to prevent disputes over possible damages... and aids a smoother transition from the previous tenant to the new one.”
Craig Walker, proprietor of Belvoir Camberley, adds, “Put together before a tenant moves into a property, an inventory is a dated record of an actual condition of a property.”
Harpreet Garcha, proprietor of Belvoir Kettering, explains, “You always have a front sheet which will state the address, landlord’s name and tenant’s name and the date the inventory was produced.
“You then have a part called the disclaimer this explains what is expected in the property (i.e. cleaning) and what is expected from the tenant. You then have a section that notes all keys that are given for the property and where the gas, electric and water meters are, plus the readings.”
Why is it useful?
“An inventory is very useful as it is a visual and written report of a property before a tenant moves in,” says Harpreet. “When it comes to the end of the tenancy (and the tenant has vacated the property), we would then take the original inventory with us to do the final inspection. Using the inventory makes it easier to find if there are any
damages in the property, such as burns on carpets, marks on walls, ovens not been cleaned etc.”
“It is all about evidence,” adds Craig Walker of Belvoir Camberley. “Since the launch of the Tenant Deposit Scheme, landlords have to be 100% able to prove the condition of a property.”
When should it be done?
“An inventory is always produced two days before a move in takes place so that we have time to go into the property and make sure everything is clean and is working correctly,” says Harpreet. “Once a tenant has moved in the inventory gets placed in a hanging file at our office for safe keeping – that way we can always have access if needed.”
“The inventory should also be checked at the end of the tenancy on check out,” advises Craig Walker, Belvoir Camberley.
What should it record?
“An inventory is a full description of a property from top to bottom stating all fittings, such as radiators, lights, furniture, decoration and flooring etc,” says Harpreet.
“It should also record the condition and cleanliness of everything too,” adds
Craig Walker, Belvoir Camberley.
“A good agent should cover every room,” agrees Wayne Mearns of Belvoir Southend-on-Sea. “And the inventory should also include any gardens or parking and contain a detailed analysis of everything.”
Many written inventories are also backed up with photographs of the property. “You have a written part of the inventory and a photo part so you can physically see if there are any damages, such as marks or stains on a carpet,” says Harpreet Garcha, Belvoir Kettering.
“Photos can be especially helpful if any doubts over condition are encountered prior to move in,” adds Wayne Mearns of Belvoir Southend-on-Sea. “If the property is furnished, this is even more helpful to show wear to items, such as sofas.”
Craig Walker of Belvoir Camberley agrees and says, “The best thing about a photo inventory is that the camera never lies. Words are subjective. To make the most of your inventory before and after photographs are best.”
Who needs a copy?
“When producing an inventory we always have three copies: one for the landlord, one for the tenant and one for Belvoir,” says Harpreet. “All copies need to be signed by the tenant and the Belvoir Inventory Clerk before leaving the office with the keys for the property.
“A new tenant is always made aware that they have 10 days from taking the keys from us to go through the inventory and let us know if there is anything the Inventory Clerk has either missed or described incorrectly.” Wayne Mearns of Belvoir Southend-on-Sea adds, “The tenant should always be encouraged to look around the property while cross-referencing the inventory as this adds to piece of mind and reinforces the information held on it.”
Need help with your inventory? If you get a property management agency to fully manage your property, they will do the inventory for you. “An inventory can be compiled by an agent or Inventory Clerk on behalf of the landlord,” says Craig Walker of Belvoir Camberley. For full-management of your property, try a good agent, such as Belvoir, which now have more than 140 offices nationwide. To find your nearest Belvoir office, visit their website at www.belvoirlettings.com