What is an inventory and Move in report and why is it important to me as a landlord?19 Jul 2016
We often get asked by landlords, why do I need an inventory, there is nothing in my property, it’s unfurnished, surely it’s an expense I don’t need to incur?
My answer is always the same for every single property, whether you chose to prepare the inventory yourself, or get a professional, experienced inventory clerk to prepare one, it’s vital that you offer a proper, detailed inventory of a property to a tenant upon move in. The inventory is a detailed written schedule of the contents and condition of a property.
It’s a written report detailing exactly how you are handing over a property to an incoming tenant, and it makes life so much easier when that tenant comes to move out if you have a signed detailed scheduled of condition and contents.
This documents allows both tenants and landlords a point of reference which both parties have agreed to upon move in, so that should there be any differences on it upon move out, it’s clear what those differences are, and therefore you should be responsible for the cost to out it right.
Many landlord think that because they are not leaving furniture , they don’t need one, but in my experience it’s rarely the furnishings that cause the most problems on move out. For example, say a tenant moves into an unfurnished modern one bed flat which is emulsioned throughout in cream with laminate flooring.
The landlords says “I don’t need an inventory , it’s all newly painted in cream and that all that’s there”
Move out time comes, and while the property is immaculate, the tenant has left a pot burn on the kitchen worktop, 3 tiles are cracked on bathroom floor and he has painted the living room floor dark red including the sockets.
The tenants says – “it was like that when I moved in…, it’s been left clean and tidy.”
The landlord is obviously frustrated because it wasn’t like that when he moved in but because he has no inventory and the tenant is not accepting any cost, he cannot make any claim against the deposit. He suggests that the marketing photos are used to at least show the colour of the wall has been changed however because the photos are not date stamped the tenants suggests that they could have been taken years before the tenant moved in and perhaps the tenant before him made the changes? Can the landlord prove that the property was freshly painted upon move in, perhaps can the landlord offer an invoice form the painter? The landlord can’t in this case because he painted in himself and hadn’t kept receipts from where he bought the paint.
The bottom line is, he can’t prove that the tenant did any of the damages because he doesn’t have a signed inventory , so although the flat is unfurnished, the small damages might cost him quite a lot of money to put right.
A signed and dated detailed inventory, properly prepared, along with photographic report would have meant that the tenant would not be able to deny responsibility. And even if the tried, the evidence would be there in writing!
So the golden rule is, Make sure you either do yourself, or instruct a detailed inventory before move in!