The property inventory, schedule of condition, check-in and check-out reports are often the most important documents a landlord or a tenant will have for their rental property.
These documents will establish the exact condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy and will be used to determine whether any deductions should be made from the security deposit at the end of the tenancy.
However well a property is looked after, it will not be in the same condition at the end of the tenancy than it was at the start. Fixtures and fittings within the property will always suffer wear and tear, and this is something allowed during a tenancy – ie. nobody can be charged for something that is classed as ‘fair wear and tear’.
Tenants will, however, be liable to pay for missing items, damage, breakages or excessive wear and tear, as well as cleaning the property to the same standard it was cleaned at the commencement of the tenancy.
All of this means that, without the relevant documents to prove the differences in the property from the start to the end of the tenancy, no money can be deducted from the security deposit. You must arrange for your inventory and schedule of condition to be prepared prior to the tenant moving into the property. The check-in should take place with the tenants at the start of the tenancy, just as the keys are handed over. The check-out will take place as soon as the tenancy ends, using the original documents, in conjunction with your regular property inspection reports noting any amendments to the property throughout the tenancy.
So what happens if you do not have a professional inventory?
If there is no professional inventory then neither party can make a case for a dispute at the end of the tenancy. It could mean a much longer negotiation over the deposit, and it could definitely mean a loss of money for the landlord, as they CANNOT legally deduct any money from the security deposit under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement without the tenant/s’ permission.
In deciding any claim against a tenancy deposit for issues such as cleaning or damage, all parties to a dispute are entitled to rely upon the detailed check-in and check-out reports. Without good quality and highly detailed documents it would be extremely difficult (if not nigh on impossible) to persuade an adjudicator that deductions from the tenancy deposit are justified.
So what is a ‘good inventory’?
This should be a highly detailed and completely unbiased report which has been compiled to a professional standard. The report would incorporate good photographic evidence of anything which requires further explanation or shows marks which have been written in the document. Photos would usually have an item such as a ruler to show length of scuffs etc. Photographs are also important for unusual items, such as ornaments or antiques.
At Ashington Page we pride ourselves on the quality of our inventories, which are carried out by our professional clerk Jane Burn. If you are interested in booking Jane for your inventory, whether you are renting your property with Ashington Page, or not, you can book using the download below, or contact us on e. firstname.lastname@example.org t. 01494 685518.
Download your guide to inventories here: