How to Make an Inventory

A property inventory is a record of all the things that you own in your house. There are a number of different homeowners who will want to make sure they perform a property inventory before getting on with selling their place.

Regardless of whether you’re a landlord with a number of properties, a private owner looking to rent out their apartment for the first time, or somebody who makes a living renting houses, it’s vital that you have an exhaustive list of every single item in the property.

Understanding Property Inventories

In essence, creating a property inventory is an exhaustive record of all the items present in the property you intend to rent. Whether it’s a residential or commercial space, or even a piece of land like a parking lot or potential construction site, creating a property inventory is a valuable step to take.

The Importance of Property Inventories

Creating a property inventory serves a dual purpose: they help preserve your property and ensure that both you and your tenant are in agreement regarding the condition of items within the space. By maintaining a comprehensive property inventory, you can hold your tenant accountable for any damages, as you can prove that these issues didn’t exist before their occupancy.

Additionally, property inventories save you time when transitioning between tenants, eliminating the need to search for broken or malfunctioning items before the arrival of a new tenant. To simplify this process, we’ve prepared a guide on creating a property inventory.

Creating a Property Inventory

A property inventory can be collaboratively compiled by the tenant and the landlord, though an agent can act on the landlord’s behalf when necessary. In cases where communication is not seamless, involving a bailiff may become necessary, although it’s not the preferred option for either party.

The document should be duplicated, with one copy provided to the tenant and the other retained by the landlord. Given its potential legal implications, it’s vital to ensure that both documents are correctly signed and co-signed. Many inventories include digital photographs to supplement the written information.

Property inventory template

Download a free inventory template form.

When to Prepare an Inventory

A comprehensive property inventory should be established before the tenant moves in and again on the day the tenant vacates. Ideally, these two documents should be in a consistent format, making it easy to compare them and identify any discrepancies.

Are Inventories Mandatory?

In the UK, the law requires landlords to protect any deposit received from a tenant through a government deposit protection scheme, of which there are several options. This ensures that landlords can claim damages against the tenant’s deposit and secure compensation in the event of property damage during the tenancy.

Apart from legal requirements, property inventories are crucial documents that should not be overlooked. They are an integral part of the rental process in the UK and should be treated with utmost importance.

What to Include in an Inventory

Practically everything that could potentially be damaged within the property must be documented in the inventory. This encompasses not only objects but also structural elements. To help you ensure that your property inventory complies with UK requirements, we’ve prepared a simple checklist:

  • Walls (note prior damage, holes, scratches, etc.)
  • Fixtures (e.g. lamps, overhead lights)
  • Fittings (e.g. kitchen taps, sinks)
  • Flooring (whether carpeted, wooden, or stone)
  • Ceilings (scratches, structural issues)
  • Furniture (all furniture if the property is furnished)
  • Appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator)
  • Storage Units (shelves, cupboards, chests of drawers)
  • Other Buildings (sheds, outhouses, garages)
  • Windows & Blinds
  • Doors
  • Bathrooms
  • Paint (document condition, color, and overall health of wall paint)
  • Garden (include garden furniture if any)

How To Prepare For An Inventory

Print an inventory template off of the Internet, or use Rentila’s Web / Android / iOS App.

Schedule an appointment with the tenant for some time during the day when you’re sure the house will be supplied with electricity, gas, and running water. It’s good to do this during the day, since that’s when it’ll be the easiest to identify any preexisting faults or issues within the home.

Professional Assistance

While it’s possible to conduct a property inventory in the UK independently, many homeowners choose to hire professionals to ensure a smooth process. Professionals, experienced in the industry, can identify areas where damage is likely to occur, preventing any oversight.

However, your input is valuable, as no one knows your property better than you do. Mention potential problem areas and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Additional Details

Apart from the checklist mentioned above, there are other items that must be included in the inventory report:

  • Check-in Agreements (tenant agreement with the inventory list)
  • Provisions For Visits (scheduling regular appointments to check the property)
  • Dilapidation Reports (this is a way to account for items or structures in the home which may already be old, worn-out, or breaking down – often dilapidated items will be considered differently on the property inventory than items in mint condition, and may require different payment structures to be agreed)

Evidence for Legal Compliance

To meet legal requirements, the following evidence is often necessary:

  • A professional, detailed inventory list
  • The tenant’s signature on the check-in inventory list
  • A tenancy agreement which explicitly refers to the property inventory
  • A paper trail, including receipts, communication, quotes, charges, and invoices
  • Photos and videos to accompany the list (strongly recommended)
  • Clear understanding of legal terms and responsibilities
  • Brand names, serial numbers, and other relevant information for all appliances and fittings
  • A clear discussion of the check-out inventory procedure

Final Tips

Property inventories are crucial documents, but there’s no need to stress about them. By following the advice outlined above meticulously, you’ll ensure a smooth and worry-free process.

Create your property inventory with Rentila!

The Inventories section allows you to create a tenancy check-in/check-out form with descriptions, meters readings, digital photos. Download and print your document, ready to be signed.

Go to Your account, Inventories .


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