Landlord inventory templates are easily available with a quick online search, but what do you really need to include, and how can you put yours into practice? Read our landlord’s guide on how to take an inventory.
We’ve put together a checklist of the eight top things you need to do to put together a comprehensive landlord’s inventory, making it work for you and your tenants.
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What is an ‘inventory’ (for rental property)?
Your rental inventory gives full details of the condition of your property and its contents, at the start of any new tenancy. It’s also known as the ‘schedule of condition’.
Where can I get a landlord inventory template?
There are lots of free landlord inventory templates available online, but you can easily create your own. Your landlord inventory should be designed as a form, with pictures of your property and contents to help you and your tenants monitor any changes. Make sure you’re taking any pictures before the tenants move in, and again at the end of their tenancy, so you can make an easy comparison of any deterioration or damage.
How to take an inventory for rental property
- Look into a paid inventory service
- Prepare your landlord inventory template
- Get the timing right
- Flag any issues/special notes
- Schedule your inspections
- Agree on wear and tear …
- … and your damages procedure
- Prepare your end-of-tenancy check
Keep reading for help with putting your landlord inventory list into action.
1. Look into a paid inventory service
You can hire an independent inventory clerk to help you carry out and document the inventory check. A letting agency or management company may also offer this service, but remember, it will always be at an extra or factored-in cost.
Hiring a professional can save time and issues, as well as giving you some distance from the tenant, if you’d prefer. Costs will depend on your property, how big it is and any special features.
If the tenancy comes to an end and you fall into disagreement with your tenant, the initial and final reports from your inventory clerk will be key pieces of evidence. So if you’re worried about disputes and getting things resolved quickly, hiring somebody could pay off.
2. Prepare your landlord inventory template
Your inventory will be a full list of the property’s contents, and should also note the condition of the property itself. You’ll want to include all ‘fixed’ features, from walls and ceilings to cupboards and doors.
Once these are listed, take time to check the state your paintwork and wallpaper or carpet are in, and any appliances or fittings. It’s easy to take something like a floor covering for granted, but if it comes with your property, it needs to be included.
Once these less obvious things are ticked off, you can add things like furniture, garden features, garages and sheds.
3. Get the timing right
If you’ve decided to go for a paid inventory service (see above), your clerk will take you through their template, and how it works.
Doing it yourself can be very straightforward – you just need to make sure you’re completing the inventory on or just before your new tenant’s move-in date (when the property is completely ready), with your tenant present. This will need to be before they move in their own belongings, or use anything in your property.
4. Flag any issues/special notes
Mark any issues upfront on your inventory template, along with the condition of specific items or features. If the sofa is brand new, make a note. If you’re already aware of a scratch on the kitchen surface, reassure your tenant. Photo and video evidence can be very useful here, to help you make direct comparisons.
Once your inventory is complete and your tenant is up-to-speed, it will need to be signed off by you both. Make sure your tenant has a copy to refer back to.
5. Schedule your inspections
Regular inspections are part of landlord life. Read our guide to inspecting your tenanted property, and book time in your diary to check your property every three months. Remember, your tenant has a right to 24 hours’ notice before you arrive to inspect, and anything you spot is worth flagging and discussing with them at the time.
6. Agree on wear and tear …
There’s a difference between damage and wear and tear, so make sure your original inventory gives clear details of the condition your property and contents were in, before the tenancy started. For example, carpets may wear over time and walls will become scuffed. If you make an inspection and find a tear down the side of your sofa, however, or a broken interior window, this could be treated as damage.
Tenants can’t be held responsible for ‘fair wear and tear’, so be realistic when it comes to your inventory and inspections.
7. … and your damages procedure
If you and your tenant agree that damage has occured, you can draw up estimates for repairs and replacements. Let your tenant know the costs, and update your tenancy deposit scheme so that deductions can be applied.
If the damage is substantial and the deposit doesn’t cover it, you’ll need to invoice your tenant for the outstanding amount, and agree a payment schedule.
Can’t agree on the damages? Make sure your original inventory reflects the condition of your property in good detail, with photos and videos to supplement your case. This will be very important when you begin any tenant dispute proceedings.
8. Prepare your end-of-tenancy check
This should happen on the day your tenants move out, acting as a final inspection of your property and contents. Make sure your tenant has their copy of the original inventory handy, and cross-reference any notes and changes.
Your tenant should be present for the final inspection, and their possessions should already be moved out of the property.