Date Published 15 December 2020

If you've ever been a tenant, or you're a landlord (or potential one), then you will have heard of the inventory.

Yes, some of you may groan, puff your cheeks out and roll your eyes, but the ‘i'-word is very important for everyone concerned when a property is let, and here's why ...

I'm moving into/letting out an unfurnished property – I don't need one!

Oh yes you do. There may not be any furniture in there, but there should be floor coverings at least, some light fittings, and maybe some built in appliances. But whatever is or isn't in there, would you – as a tenant – relish the thought of the landlord charging you for a pair of curtains you took with you when you left? … (which you didn't because there weren't any).

And as a landlord, would you – when the tenant has left – be ok about having to replace a cigarette burned carpet that was fine when you let the property, but which they say was there when they moved in? … (which certainly wasn't!).

Get it documented!

In days gone by, the inventory was little more than a hand-written list of what the property contained, and it was short and sweet. But times have changed and things have moved on. Now, along with a detailed description there is often a comprehensive collection of photographs showing everything from the view of the front of the property, through the front door and right through every room and out of the back door, including all outside spaces.

Nowadays, even this has been taken a step further to the ‘video' inventory … a visual tour through the property which clearly shows not only the contents, but their condition.

No argument. No dispute.

A must for both sides.

The inventory will be available to see at the start of the tenancy and is a bang-up-to-date record for both landlords and tenants to use. For example:

Tenants – you'll be able to see that the weeds by the back door were there when you moved in, so you really can't be charged for their removal.

You'll be able to see not only what is there, but what condition it's in.

Landlords – When you see that the bathroom wall mirror has disappeared, you can clearly show that it was there at the start of the tenancy.

You'll also be able to prove the level of cleanliness throughout the property, something often disputed when tenants move out.

The legal stuff

Never lose sight of why the deposit has been taken. If there are dilapidations and/or missing items at the end of the tenancy there can be major upsets and lots of time wasted trying to sort things out and agreeing what amount is to be deducted. It can all get rather messy.

Both landlord and tenant must sign off the inventory/condition record at the beginning and end of the tenancy, so make sure you're both happy with it.

So there you have it.

Inventories are a must for everyone concerned; they smooth the way for (hopefully) argument-free tenancies, with both sides knowing where they stand and what's expected … so make them work for you!