A property inventory – also known as a “schedule of condition” – is vital for every landlord. Serving as protection against disputes with even the most difficult tenants, having a full and complete property inventory will be one of your best defences as a landlord. Both parties should sign and initial each page of the report to prove that they’ve been seen.
There are some things you should know if you’re entering into one of your first tenancy agreements as a landlord. Some are legal responsibilities of which you might already be aware, while others are just things that are handy to know.
Get an Inventory Even if Your Property is Unfurnished
Even if your property is unfurnished, contracting a reliable company for professional landlord inventory services is an important step. A report doesn’t just list the condition of any fittings, it also covers fixtures, walls, windows, carpet and more.
Perform Regular Checks on Your Property, But not Too Regular
Making sure that your property is being kept in a reasonable condition is a good idea if you don’t want to have any unpleasant surprises at the end of an agreement period. That said, you also don’t want to be one of those landlords who’s always looking over their tenant’s shoulder, making them feel like they should move on and stop paying you rent money! A quarterly basis is usually ample to arrange interim reports from an independent source, and should meet both of the above needs amply.
What to do on the Final Day of Tenancy
You or a trusted agent should be there to check and confirm the move-out report on the final day of the tenancy agreement before you have any work done and before anyone else enters the property. This ensures that can be no disagreement with the tenant over someone other than themselves being responsible for any damages.
Handing Back the Deposit When There are no Problems
The deposit should be handed back to your tenant within 7-14 days if there are no issues outstanding with damages or repairs to be made.
What to do if Your Property is Damaged – And Your Tenant Agrees who is at Fault
If damages to your property have been highlighted by a check-out report, a replacement cost list should be drawn up. You should make your tenant aware of these costs by providing an itemised bill and make sure that they agree before notifying the tenancy deposit scheme that’s holding their deposit. It’s also your responsibility to consider something called “betterment” in these circumstances. Betterment covers situations where items are not brand new – for example, if your property’s sofa has been badly damaged and requires replacement but it’s several years old, your tenant might not be liable for the whole cost of a brand-new sofa, and an agreement should be reached that takes the item’s age into account. If the tenant’s deposit does not cover the agreed repair amount, then their insurance company should be notified.
What to do if Your Property is Damaged – And Your Tenant Does Not Agree They are at Fault
If your tenant does not agree that they are at fault for any damages highlighted by a check out report, then your original property inventory and check in reports will be your new best friends. If both parties cannot agree then further evidence may need to be collected, and your tenancy deposit scheme’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service notified. The ADR is an impartial way of having the disagreement adjudicated without lengthy and expensive court action. Both sides need to agree to abide by the ADR’s decision, and if you do so you cannot later go to court. If both parties do not agree to let the ADR decide, then unfortunately court is the final step.Get a free quote