The importance of a professional inventory
Not having an Inventory and Schedule of Condition, or having one which is not detailed enough, could cost a landlord thousands of pounds and make any deposit held pointless.
Landlords who use DIY inventories often leave themselves exposed by not including everything they should and not describing the condition of things in sufficient detail. For example, if a tenant argues that some cracked floor tiles were like that at the beginning of their tenancy and the landlord does not have a signed inventory stating that they were intact at the outset, then the damage would not be able to be proven and any claim against the deposit could be thrown out.
A professionally prepared inventory, even for a small one bedroom property, will run to 20 pages or more. Bear in mind that photographs embedded into the inventory are very important but these do not replace the written detail.
All of our managed landlords are supplied with an Inventory and Schedule of Condition produced by a professional ARLA Inventory clerk. We then carry out a personal “Check-In” with the tenant at the property with this document making sure it is completed and signed by them before releasing keys. At the end of the tenancy we then meet with them personally again to conduct a “Check-Out”, face to face making sure that any changes to the inventory are noted.
Landlords must allow for fair wear and tear but should think of the inventory as a benchmark of how the property was and how it should be returned. Without an adequate benchmark you could be facing an uphill struggle.
“A properly prepared and comprehensive inventory sets the scene for what is provided by the landlord at the start of the tenancy. It therefore plays a significant role in protecting both landlord and tenant. A detailed inventory will help avoid disputes, whilst any such dispute that does arise about missing contents or condition of the property at the end of the tenancy can be more easily resolved.” Chris Hamer, The Former Property Ombudsman