The importance of a professional inventory & check-in report

Some landlords feel that the cost of instructing a professional inventory provider, to compile an inventory and check-in report, is not worth the cost. Some feel that they are better off drawing up a list of items in the property themselves and leaving it at that.

It is to these landlords that I urge to rethink as the benefits of having a professional inventory and check-in far outweigh the nominal cost involved.

Inventory

This itemises and details the property (fixtures, fittings, furnishings, etc.) and therefore, the inventory should not change much from tenancy to tenancy, unless the property has been refurbished/re-decorated.

Check-in report

This details the condition of the property, fixtures, fittings and furnishing on the date that a tenancy starts. It will include a schedule of condition that provides the landlord with a general overview of the property i.e. cleanliness, decorative condition etc.
You might be asking why an inventory and check-in report are important? Well, should a dispute arise at the end of tenancy then it is essential that the inventory and check-in reports are through and of a good quality, such as having clear supporting photographs, as the landlord will have the burden of proof laid at their feet should they wish to claim against the deposit.

For example, if a tenant moves into a brand new development a professionally compiled inventory, along with a thorough check-in report (including pictures), should be conducted at the start of the tenancy. The tenant then should sign the check-in report to confirm they agree with it.

At the check-out, the property is found to be in a bad condition (ie. extremely dirty, fixtures and fittings damaged beyond fair wear and tear, items missing etc.) the landlord would have to obtain quotes to have the issues resolved to make the property habitable for the next tenants. Should the previous tenant dispute the costs and deny any accountability the case would be sent to The Dispute Service.  The landlord would be able to produce a copy of the inventory, check-in report (signed by the tenant) and the check-out report to support his claims that the tenant had damaged his property. An independent adjudicator would review the case, and so long as there were no extenuating circumstances, the landlord would be awarded the full amount needed to cover the cost of the repairs and cleaning.

The above example is the most common example of the benefits of a professionally put together inventory and check-in report but there are many other reasons it would be hand to have professionally created documentation.

Most importantly a landlord should remember that failing to have adequate proof to back up a claim against a tenant will most likely result in landlord having to pay for repairs that should be covered by a tenant’s deposit.

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