Buy to Let property perspectives: the inventory

Posted 9/11/2016 by: Reeds Rains

What is an Inventory?

An inventory is a detailed list of the contents and condition of your property taken before the tenant moves in. It is important that if there is a dispute over damage at the end of the tenancy, you have proof of the original condition of the property and its contents.

The landlord’s view

Landlords are naturally concerned with keeping costs under control and many see paying for an inventory as a waste of money – why can’t you simply do it yourself? From our perspective, some think it’s just a list of what’s in the property and if you have been letting for many years or are new to it, you may not see the point of doing one at all, especially if you have taken a security deposit. But with the introduction of deposit protection legislation, gone are the days of being able to keep hold of deposits just because a tenant can’t prove that damage or theft wasn’t down to them. Now the onus is very much on you, the landlord, to prove the condition and contents of the property at the start of the tenancy. As such a professional, independent inventory can mean the difference between paying out for damage caused by a tenant or ensuring the tenant rightly picks up the bill! 

The tenant’s view 

Once the contract’s been signed, most tenants are just keen to see that the property’s clean and to get their stuff moved in. Some think the inventory is purely to protect the landlord, without realising that it’s also their best line of defence against any of their deposit being retained. And if that’s not been explained to them, as often happens when landlords self-manage or use a sub-standard agent, they’re unlikely to take much notice of it. Some tenants just sign off the inventory there and then without even reading it, and the reality is that far too many still don’t understand that taking a little extra time to go through it at the start of the tenancy can save them a lot of hassle and money at the end. However, if we are managing a property for you, we will take time to go through the inventory, especially when we are doing periodic property checks on your behalf. 

The agent’s view

The vast majority of our landlords leave it to us to instruct inventories. And because we’re acting on your behalf and have been dealing with deposit protection providers for almost 10 years, we know how vital it is that the inventory is done correctly and in sufficient detail. We use trusted external inventory companies and leave the inventory with the tenant after check in and give them a couple of days to go through it to make sure they’re in agreement with everything before they sign it.  Your own copy is also stored in the landlord and tenant portal(s) 

With inventories, the best solution is to instruct an experienced inventory clerk who is a member of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) or qualified through the National Federation of Property Professionals (NFOPP), so there can’t be any claims of bias. 


For more articles like this sign up to our monthly landlord newsletter here.