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Understanding Your Rental Property Inventory

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Don’t underestimate the power of the inventory when moving into your new rental property.

Inventories are in place to protect your deposit and the property from damage. Therefore, whether it’s your first-time renting or not, it’s important to check the inventory!

Here’s our advice on understanding your rental property inventory.

What is an inventory?

The inventory is the document that records the state of the property and its contents before you move in.

It’s the main document used to resolve any issues at the end of tenancy and can strongly influence what deductions (if any) are made from your deposit. An inventory is there to protect both you and the landlord!

Schedule of condition

Normally the inventory and schedule of condition are combined in one document. However, the difference between them is that they cover distinctly different areas.

  • The inventory lists everything included in the rental property, such as the fixtures, fittings and furnishings (if the property is furnished).
  • The schedule of condition states the condition of all the items listed on the inventory. This is where the shades of grey arise. While it’s a statement of fact to state that there’s a sofa in the lounge, opinions on condition can differ.

Before you move in, check that everything listed on the inventory is present and correct. You should also double check the condition of everything, as stated on the schedule of condition.

The purpose of the inventory

The landlord no longer controls the tenant’s deposit. Therefore, tenants are now reliant on the inventory to get their deposit back.

You have the right to refer any dispute to the deposit scheme used.

No longer do you have to worry about losing your deposit because your landlord has dubious financial intentions. The inventory is your supporting evidence to get your money back if you leave the property in a good condition at the end of your tenancy.

How to check the inventory for a rental property

The inventory is checked when the tenancy has been agreed between you and the landlord, and you’re ready to accept the keys.

  • Take a tour of the property, prior to moving in, with the letting agent, inventory clerk or the landlord. Both of you should have copies of the inventory and the schedule of the condition.
  • Note down any discrepancies between the inventory and reality.
  • Have the landlord or the lettings agent draw up an up-to-date inventory to reflect the discrepancies, and only sign it once you’re happy with it. If you sign beforehand, there’s very little you can do if the landlord doesn’t fix what needs fixing, or accuses you of causing the damage.
  • The property inventory and the schedule of conditions then form part of the terms of your tenancy agreement.
  • If you wish to use photographs to support any discrepancy, or to highlight the condition of any existing damage, ensure you both sign and date each photograph.

Understanding ‘fair wear and tear’

If you have not maintained a property to an acceptable standard, or have caused excessive damage due to neglect, you will be liable for any repairs.

However, the landlord must accept, by law, that a tenant living in a property will cause some wear and tear.

As part of your rental property check out list, ensure you understand what’s considered fair wear and tear, so you know where you stand.

Phil Spencer's Property Report contains information on local valuations and rental estimates. Get your full report here.

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