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 potential residents in your home are likely to come into contact with.

What Is A Property Inventory?

Basically speaking, an inventory is an extensive list of items you already have within the property you’re looking to rent. It can be worthwhile to create an inventory for any kind of space you’re looking for potential tenants to occupy, be that a residential or commercial area, or even a plot of land like a parking lot or a potential building site.

Why Are Inventories Useful?

As well as preserving your property, this is a way to make sure that you and the tenant are on the same page when it comes to potentially damaged items.
By creating a thorough property inventory, you’ll be able to make sure that anything that gets broken will be repaired by your tenant since you’ll be able to prove that the item was unbroken before they moved in.
It’s also a great way to save time between one tenant and another since you won’t have to spend too much of your time going around trying to find things that might be broken or could need fixing before the arrival of your next tenant. We’ve decided to come up with a guide to creating a property inventory, in order to streamline the process as much as possible and make it easy for you to create your own inventory.

How Do You Create An Inventory?

An inventory can be created by the collaboration between the tenant and the landlord, although it’s worth mentioning that an agent can act in place of the landlord if need be. In some cases, communication may not be as flawless as everybody would like — in those situations, it may be necessary to involve a bailiff, although obviously this isn’t ideal for either party.

The document itself must be made into two copies, one for the tenant and one for the landlord. Given that it’ll serve potential legal purposes, it’s important that each document is signed and co-signed correctly. It’s worth taking the time to do things right the first time when it comes to legal matters, and property inventories are no exception to the rule. Many inventories include digital photographs to accompany the written information.

Property inventory template

Download a free inventory template form.

When Do You Need To Make One?

A thorough property inventory should be taken at some point before the tenant moves in, and again on the day the tenant moves out. Ideally, these two documents will be in the same form, so it’ll be relatively straightforward to compare the two pieces of paper and figure out if there are any discrepancies.

Are Inventories Mandatory?

According to the law in the UK, any deposit a landlord takes from a tenant must be protected in a government deposit protection scheme, of which there are several to choose from. This way, the landlord or lessor will be able to claim any damage done to the property against the tenant’s deposit, and can assure themselves of compensation in the unfortunate instance that a piece of their property gets damaged throughout the course of the tenant’s tenure in the residence.

As well as being required by law, property inventories are very important documents that you don’t want to go without. It’s a vital part of the rental process in the UK, and shouldn’t be ignored under any circumstances, or you’re leaving yourself open to being hurt in the future.

What Needs To Be Included?

Practically everything that could potentially be damaged inside the house needs to be noted in the inventory. This isn’t limited to objects, as structural features fall under the same obligation. Since there’s a lot to keep track of, we’ve decided to come up with an easy-to-follow checklist for you, so you’ll know for sure whether your property inventory complies with the UK’s requirements. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Walls (check for prior damage, holes, scratches, etc)
  • Fixtures (e.g. lamps, overhead lights)
  • Fittings (e.g. kitchen taps, sinks)
  • Flooring (whether carpeted, wooden, or stone)
  • Ceilings (cracks, scratches, structural issues)
  • Furniture (every single kind of furniture needs to be included if the property is being rented out as a furnished residence)
  • Appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator)
  • Storage Units (shelves, cupboards, chests of drawers)
  • Other Buildings (sheds, outhouses, garages)
  • Windows & Blinds
  • Doors
  • Bathrooms
  • Paint (make sure to take note of the condition, colour, and overall health of the paint on the walls)
  • Garden (any furniture in the garden must be taken account of as well)

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 most easy to identify any preexisting faults or issues within the home.

Do You Need Professional Help?

Even though it’s entirely possible to perform a property inventory in the UK on your own, many homeowners opt to employ the services of a professional to help make are everything goes smoothly. As a result of being experienced in the industry, professionals will be able to point out exactly where damage is most likely to occur, ensuring that you don’t miss out on anything important.

Feel free to help the professional out, though. Because nobody knows your home better than you do, it can be a great way to supplement their own existing knowledge and make sure you’re both making the best possible use of the time available. Mention any areas you think might be problematic in the future, and make sure to ask any questions that arise at this stage, no matter how trivial — they might just turn out to be important further down the line.

Additional Details

As well as the things you should be checking for that we listed above, there are other items that must be noted on the inventory report in order to make sure you’re during all of your due diligence the way you should be. These include:

  • Check-in Agreements (making sure the tenant agrees with the list you made)
  • Provisions For Visits (this is useful because it helps you to schedule regular appointments to check out the property and confirm that the tenant is doing everything according to the rules)
  • 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 You’ll Need To Prove It’s All Legal

Because the mandatory deposit schemes in the UK are run by the government, they provide their own recommendations for what kinds of evidence lessors may need from their tenants with regards to a property inventory.

  • A professional, detailed inventory list of everything in the home
  • A tenant’s signature on the check-in inventory list
  • A tenancy agreement which explicitly refers to the property inventory
  • A paper trail (including receipts, pieces of communication, quotes, any charges that may have been incurred, and any relevant invoices)
  • Photos and video footage to accompany the list (not required but strongly advised)
  • Proof that the legal requirements of the agreement are understood by the lessor, the tenant, and any other agents involved in the process
  • Clear definitions of what it means to be clean and what it means to be working, as well as the counterparts dirty and broken
  • Straightforward descriptions of what exactly the tenant is responsible for, and what they’re not responsible for
  • Brand names, serial numbers, and other relevant information for all appliances and fittings
  • A clear discussion of the check-out inventory procedure

Final Tips

Because property inventories are such important documents and there’s so much to consider, it’s important to make sure you don’t get too stressed about it. Becoming worried will only serve to increase the likelihood you’ll miss something. Remember that at the end of the day, the inventory is only one part of the whole process, and if that if you follow the above advice to the letter, you’ll be completely fine.

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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