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The Importance of an Inventory

As a landlord, making sure the condition of your property is maintained when you have tenants constantly moving in and out can be stressful, something as simple as an inventory can ensure the process runs a lot more smoothly.

So what is an inventory?

An inventory is simply a fair and detailed account which describes the condition and contents of a property, including furnishings, fixtures and fittings at the beginning and end of a tenancy. It also includes a 'schedule of condition' which details any existing damage such as stains, tarnishes or chips within the property. Nowadays many inventories include date stamped photographs or video recordings, these are optional but definitely advisable. In many cases the images show close ups of certain defects, as this means there is no uncertainty of their condition which may later be questioned.

Why is an inventory important?

Firstly, it helps landlords and letting agents assess the state of the property at check-in and at check-out. This is particularly crucial as it often avoids and minimises disputes with tenants over deposit refund amounts. For example, if an inventory is recorded inaccurately, even if it's a minor detail, it can end up causing a major dispute. In more serious instances that often end up in court, the inventory company and the inventory itself can act as a third party judicator, particularly if they are a regulated/recognised company. Therefore, it is evident that although deposit disputes can be stressful for both landlords and tenants, with an effective inventory in place disputes are unnecessary and avoidable.

A check in/inventory is carried out usually by a 3rd party on the day of move in; this ensures that when the tenants check out, the property is left in the same condition as it was upon their arrival.. Both tenant and landlord need to sign the inventory, so when the tenant does move out of the property, they will only be billed for damage they have actually caused. This can save a lot of time and potentially money in legal fees. Inspections are then carried out quarterly by the managing agent to warrant that the maintenance of the property is kept up to a high standard, and make sure that there are no underlying problems caused by the tenant which the agent/landlord hasn't yet been notified of. Landlords will get assistance with their taxes by receiving monthly and yearly statements; this can save a lot of time and hassle with paperwork.

"With an effective inventory in place disputes are unnecessary and avoidable"

Remember, an inventory is part of the legally binding contract between a landlord and a tenant. Many landlords consider inventories an unnecessary cost but weighing up the typical cost of an inventory (roughly £150) and comparing it with the costs of damages you could be paying for (sometimes in the thousands). Why take the risk?

For information about our inventory service, please contact us on 020 7613 5550 or shoreditch@butlerandstag.com.

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