When renting out a property it is imperative that you are in possession of a landlord inventory and schedule of condition. This is a detailed record of all the fixtures and fittings within your rental property and the condition it is in at the beginning of a tenancy.
Although not required by law, it is best practice (and seen favourably by the deposit schemes) for an independent inventory clerk (preferably accredited) to carry out property inventories. This helps to avoid any bias and to ensure they stand up in the case of a dispute. Where possible it is also good practice to include digitally date stamped photographs of items in the property.
What should a landlord inventory and schedule of condition include?
A detailed landlord inventory and schedule of condition should include the age and condition of all items within the rental property, this should include:
- Fixtures and fittings
- Wall coverings (paint colours, wallpaper etc)
- Floor coverings
- Kitchen units and appliances
- Bathroom suites
- Furniture (if part or fully furnished)
- Outbuildings (garages, sheds and other outbuildings)
- All furnished items
Differences between a landlord inventory and schedule of condition?
The landlord inventory report aims to provide a fair and accurate record of the decor, contents, fixtures and fittings of the property.
The schedule of condition report provides a statement as to the condition of the items listed in the inventory. The condition of the items at the start of the tenancy should be compared to the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy.
Details of any alterations to the property after the inventory has been agreed upon should be noted on a separate addendum sheet and agreed by the tenant and the landlord. At the end of the tenancy a check-out report should be conducted to determine any changes to the landlords inventory.
These documents offer some security that should any items be damaged or missing at the end of the tenancy, the landlord should be able to claim against the deposit. Without a detailed landlord inventory it is very difficult to prove that the damage or theft was caused by the tenant or their guests.
Claiming on the deposit
In England and Wales, under the government-backed Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme rules, a tenants deposit must be registered with a deposit protection scheme and should be returned to them at the end of the tenancy as long as they:
- Meet the terms of their tenancy agreement
- Do not cause any damage to the property or take items from the property
- Pay the rent and bills
At the end of tenancy, the full or agreed amount of deposit must be returned to the tenant within 10 days of settling on the agreement. If there is a dispute with your tenants, the deposit is protected in the scheme until the issue is settled and an agreement is made.
The importance of check-in & check-out reports
Should a landlord find damage to their property, garden or contents or if items are missing and the tenant is not accepting liability, they will be able to raise a dispute with the deposit scheme’s Dispute Resolution Service.
Without check-in and check-out reports it can be hard to prove the damage or loss was caused by the tenant during the tenancy and the dispute outcome may be detrimental to the landlord with the case being awarded to the tenant.
We recently assisted a private landlord in a dispute with a tenant over missing items, the garden being left in a bad condition and oil being consumed. Unfortunately, the landlord did not provide a check-in and check-out report and therefore the case was mostly awarded to the tenant.
This was due to the fact that the condition of the garden, the contents of the property and the amount of oil in the tank had not been documented at the start of the tenancy in a check-in report.
Below is an extract from the case arbitrator’s final decision:
“The check-in and check-out reports are the most important sources of evidence in claims for missing items or gardening. Where possible, I compare these reports to establish:
- If any damage happened during the tenancy
- If the tenant is responsible for the damage
- If the property was not as clean as it had been at the start of the tenancy; and
- If the landlord needs any compensation to return the property to its condition at the start of the tenancy, (not including fair wear and tear).
I have not received a copy of the check in or check out report to establish the condition of the property at the start and end of the tenancy.
The absence of a check-in and check-out report is often detrimental to the outcome of a claim when dealing with claims involving missing items and gardening. The absence of both reports severely limits the ability to ascertain if any deterioration to the property has taken place during the course of the tenancy.”
If the landlord had been able to provide evidence that the damage and loss was caused during the course of the tenancy by undertaking check-in and check-out reports, the outcome of the dispute would have been in favour of the landlord.
This case highlights the importance of having a detailed landlord inventory accompanied by check-in and check-out reports and why every landlord should have them in place.
Landlord inventory service
We provide professional and AIIC accredited landlord inventory services nationwide. If you are a landlord and need an inventory and schedule of condition for your rental property, find out more about our inventory services or call our landlord team on 0333 577 8888.