Now that Tenancy Deposit Schemes have come into effect inventories are very much a hot potato.

Download inventory forms – Inventory full set

  • Furnished or Unfurnished – it doesn’t matter. Still take an inventory
  • Record the condition of your property on the formatted inventory sheet(s). Avoid the ‘back of a fag packet’ approach, it will only cause you problems later on.
  • Check-in / Check-out: Landlords should take the tenant around the property with the inventory and schedule of condition and check meter readings at start and end of a tenancy period
  • Be realistic in your descriptions so that they could identify the items to a third party. Use of manufacturers names can be useful but the type of construction might be more relevant in a dispute. Be fair and accurate.
  • Use pictures. Digital photos can be a real asset to your inventory. Using the classic before and after method will leave no room for dispute between you and tenants.
  • If you need to carry out a post occupancy clean then make sure you keep all relevant receipts.
  • Be aware of ‘betterment’ – essentially you cannot charge full price for a replacement carpet if it was into its third year of a five year lifespan. In such a case you could only charge 40% of the new cost (the equivalent of the remaining 2 years of lifespan)
  • A good inventory does not guarantee your property being looked after better but does substantially help in resolving any arguments should you make deductions from the deposit.
  • If you are not in the habit of taking damage deposits it is still advisable to take a good inventory so that you can bring a small claims court action if a tenant causes damage.

THE DETAIL

Each page should have: 1. Date the inventory was taken or amended at check-in and check-out

2. Whether new items have been introduced

3. A clear indication as to which room it relates to (front bedroom, etc).

4. Page number and total number of pages.

5. The landlords and tenants initials with a full name and signature on the declaration pages. Both landlord and tenant should sign the declaration sheets at check-in. The tenant should not be asked to sign the final inventory page until they have had a chance to check it (14 days are allowed in the ELA tenancy agreement)

Start each room with a description of the fixed items in the room, eg.

Decorations – state colours and description of wallpaper

Flooring – state the colour and composition of the floor covering

Electrical – state the type of light fittings and number of power outlets

Windows and doors – state the type of finish and type of locks, etc

Heating – state the type of heating, fireplaces, radiators, etc

List smaller items such as pictures and ornaments, with approximate sizes if possible.

DECLARATION SHEET

Record the following on the appropriate Declaration portion of the front sheet:

1. All keys to the property, including garage, shed, conservatory (as applicable)

2. Gas, Electricity, Oil and Water meter readings. If meters cannot be read at check-out time then you should ensure utility companies are contacted to complete this task.

Be aware of safety issues and record them on the relevant Declaration Sheet: 1. If there are open fires, have the chimney(s) been swept?

2. You are required by Law to have ALL gas appliances checked annually by a GASSAFE registered engineer. This includes central heating boilers, water heaters, fires, cookers, portable appliances, etc. You must provide a copy for the tenants of the certificate issued by the engineer.

3. You are advised to have electrical appliances checked and a certificate issued. This is not mandatory but you do have a duty of care to fulfill to your tenants.

4. Instructions for appliances are recommended for tenants to refer to.

5. You must remove from the property any items which do not comply with current fire regulations. Advice on these matters can be obtained from the ELA office.