Property inventories at the start and end of a tenancy - who should be there?
The checking in and out process is an important part of the tenancy, nevertheless, tenants used to see particularly the inventory as something which purely protected the landlord, so many of them paid little attention to it. But, since the introduction of deposit protection schemes and with tenants becoming much better informed about both their rights and landlord’s obligations, they are now appreciating the whole process is as much for their benefit.
The check in has three key purposes:
- To ensure all paperwork is correct at the point of the commencement of the tenant’s occupation of the property and that they have all keys and information about other security measures when they move in.
- To establish the condition of the property and its contents.
- To ensure the tenant knows emergency/safety procedures for the utilities and how to operate all equipment correctly and safely.
Ideally the property inventory should be carried out by an independent professional - At Reeds Rains, we use Vibrant, one of the UK’s largest property service companies. They will prepare the inventory in advance and be there to go through it with the tenant. The inventory clerk may also be able to carry out the rest of the check in, but it’s important that whoever is doing it is familiar with all the services and equipment in the property.
Even if an inventory clerk is administering the check in, it’s advisable for the landlord or managing agent to be there as well, to establish a relationship and give the tenant the opportunity to ask any questions of the person they’ll be dealing with during their tenancy. It also means both parties can clarify how they’ll communicate if there are any issues.
At check out, the most important is a record of the condition of the property as it stands at the end of the tenancy. Whether it’s the inventory clerk, the managing agent or the landlord carrying out the check out, they should have the original inventory to hand and agree with the tenant any damage or dilapidation (over and above reasonable wear and tear) there and then. Both parties can then ensure everything is handed back as it should be and avoid future disputes that may be hard to prove either way.
Tenants may be tempted to simply drop off the keys with the agent or leave them in the property, especially if they are leaving the area, so it’s important that whoever arranges their departure emphasises why they should be there in person for the check out.
If you have any further queries about the check-in or check-out process, either phone or call into your local Reeds Rains branch and one of the team can go through everything with you.