Tenant Home Inventories
An accurate tenant home inventory will remove one of the biggest headaches associated with letting property.
The tenant home inventory is considered a key document for both tenants and landlords. When signed by you and the tenant, it is a binding legal agreement. It refers to the property, a list of its contents and a record of their condition.
A professionally produced tenant home inventory serves the interests of both you and your tenant as it can help prevent disputes at the end of a tenancy. This is particularly relevant in the light of the new Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). The more detailed the inventory, the easier it will be to resolve any potential issues.
A tenant home inventory should consist of a list of the contents of the property, for example, fixtures and fittings, curtains, carpets, doors and radiators. In addition, the condition of the property - any defects, stains and general cleanliness. Any furniture that belongs to the landlord should be included and its condition clearly stated. An optional but often recommended form of protection is the use of photographic and/or video evidence of the property and the condition of the items inside.
The tenant home inventory is usually agreed on the day the tenant moves in. It can be prepared by you, your agent or an independent property inventory company. Many landlords use professional companies to create inventories as it is essential that it is thorough and accurate to avoid any dispute later.
Landlords may wish to consider regular inspections of the home inventory as tenants may not be able to abide by the rules stated, for example, students may not be able to maintain the condition of the items listed which may result in repair or replacement costs.
At the end of the tenancy you must check the home inventory and the condition of the items with the tenant before the deposit is returned. It is important that this process takes place just before they leave, preferably on move-out day to avoid any possible argument after they have left the property. Typically, landlords are able to retain deposits until any outstanding issues are resolved such as any damages (except that through natural wear and tear) and cleanliness. Once both you and the tenant are satisfied, the deposit should be returned.
In case of any damage to the items listed in the home inventory you should inform the tenant of any costs for replacement or repairs and any deductions from the deposit. If, however, the costs exceed the deposit, the additional costs must be itemised. If full replacement is required, you should be prepared to accept less than the full replacement cost of the item to account for general wear and tear. If the tenant is insured, verification of this should be provided.
If all else fails and you and your tenant are not in agreement, it may need to be resolved in a Small Claims Court.
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