How do you know what your assets are? One of the best ways is through an inventory. If you’re a landlord or letting agent, this information also helps protect your assets as well as document them.
Dominic Baines is a regional director of No Letting Go, specialists in professional property inventories. He explains why commissioning an independent inventory is such a crucial part of sound property management.
Why is a check-in inventory crucial?
“One of the best ways you can minimise disputes with tenants is to have an inventory at the start of each tenancy. Disputes over deposits are, unfortunately, commonplace, so ensuring the property is in the same condition as it was when originally requires hard evidence.”
“Disputes are both costly and stressful, but getting the details right, and recording them, at the outset, can save you a lot of trouble later”
“If there’s no inventory, or the inventory proves inadequate, then the evidence will be flawed, should a dispute go to adjudication. For it to be effective, an inventory must be thorough and properly detailed.”
What brings integrity to an inventory?
“Impartiality is a primary benefit here. We provide independent evidence that’s clear and unambiguous, whether this is before the tenant moves in, or after they’ve moved out.”
“Some landlords choose to conduct their own inventories. There’s no legal obligation for them to do otherwise, but this has its disadvantages. If it comes down to a dispute over wear and tear, and it’s the landlord’s word against the tenant’s, then the landlord supplying his own inventory may come across as biased.”
“The only way to ensure that what’s recorded is presentable as factually unchallengeable is to commission an independent property inventory. This is where the integrity comes from.”
How can an inventory help settle disputes?
“It comes back to the quality of the evidence, and of the data we gather. If there is a dispute then it’s going to be harder for the landlord to make a case if the evidence isn’t either independent, or detailed enough.”
“There’s a high ratio of upheld judgements for landlords because of the reports we’ve submitted. This is evidence you can trust.”
“For a one-year tenancy, we recommend a full cycle, consisting of a check-in inventory, two interim inspections, then the tenant checks out. This is vital for gathering evidence. For a longer tenancy, you might have property visits every three or six months.”
How can you help landlords protect their investments?
“A rigorous inventory, for each tenancy a landlord has, creates a complete record of the condition and cleanliness of the property. Provided it is kept up to date, it will provide an unbiased, comprehensive record.”
“This way the landlord knows exactly what condition the property is in at the time of letting, and immediately afterwards, so if disputes occur, or the property requires essential maintenance and upkeep, the landlord has a clear reference point.”
“Because this record is independent, it provides the necessary evidence for any third party investigating the condition of the property.”