FILE - Inventory Information for the UK
Inventory is essential for any letting these days be it furnished or unfurnished.
(If the property is unfurnished it still would normally have carpet, windows,
power points etc and all these should be taken into account.) A few years ago
it was not heard of to use or even find a professional inventory clerk "north
of Watford", but times have changed.
is an inventory?-
An inventory is a binding legal document that provides an accurate written record
of the condition and contents of a property at the beginning of a tenancy. It
forms part of the contract / Tenancy agreement between a Landlord and Tenant.
It is only effective if it is accurate so, all defects and soiling must be noted.
Some landlords do not realise that although descriptions can appear uncomplimentary,
it is those descriptions that will allow them to prove whether a tenant caused
damage or is liable for cleaning costs
individuals who let property think that a list of items will suffice, however
if you have a dispute with a Tenant and have to go to court, this "shopping list"
might be of little use. If you are having a professional inventory prepared, then
normally the inventory clerk will supply three copies of the document. These should
go to the Tenant, owner and a managing agent.
you are preparing this yourself you should list the items in room order and give
every item an individual number. You should include the following details with
detailed comments are shown beside each description: (If you are using a professional
inventory clerk they should automatically do this anyway).
- Interior condition
and decorative order, plus the fixtures and fittings including: doors, windows,
drapes/blinds, ceilings, walls, carpets etc
and other contents, excluding items which the Inventory Clerk considers as expendable,
such as magazines, living plants etc.
are described in layman's terms only. Garden statues, sheds, outbuildings etc
will be described as deemed appropriate.
cellars and similar areas are not normally covered.
points and telephone sockets etc
should also include the keys and description supplied.
minimise costs, most inventory clerks include items which are of little real value
in general terms i.e. "a quantity of .etc..". Examples of such items are books,
tired bedding, used kitchen utensils/tableware etc. You will find that if you
are using a professional inventory clerk, that naturally you will pay more for
the make if for example you have left your book library in the letting, as every
book would have to be listed.
a property contain anything considered an antique or of great value the Inventory
Clerk must be notified and if possible, ideally, valuations should be provided.
Inventory Cleaning: It is recommended that a property is cleaned to a professional
standard for the start of a tenancy paying particular care to carpets, curtains,
upholstery, kitchens and bathrooms. If an item is soiled at the start of a tenancy
a tenant can not be charged for cleaning it at the end. Landlords are also advised
to retain all receipts.
a Check in, an Inventory Clerk inspects the property and compares it to the inventory.
Any variations seen are noted on the inventory. In many cases when an independent
clerk is used they will dictate the inventory and "make it" at the same time as
the check in. This is basically because in so man situations there is not time
to visit a property and "make" the inventory and then have it typed up in time
for the check in when a tenant moves in. If you are making this yourself then
you should have time to prepare the inventory ready for the tenant checking in.
the property has been let before, then normally the same inventory will be used,
however if there have been significant changes to the property since the inventory
was last used it is likely that a new inventory will be required or an up date.
'master inventory' (that agreed at the Check-in) should be kept safe for use at
the end of the tenancy or in the event of a dispute. The tenant should be provided
with a copy together with a copy of their signature on the declaration page. One
copy of the inventory should be handed to the tenants at the time of the check
in. If the "make" is done at the time of the check in, the Letting agent or owner
should post the inventory document to the Tenant asking them to acknowledge safe
receipt of it in writing and let them know in writing within so many days if they
do not agree with any of the comments.
is also advisable to write to the Tenant when they move in with the following
ON AVOIDING PROBLEMS DURING AND AT THE END OF TENANCIES
is suggested that you familiarize yourself with the obligations you are responsible
for under the Tenancy Agreement, particularly regarding Rental Payments, Cleaning,
Gardening, Noise and Pets. You must pay rental right up until the end of tenancy,
unless you have a break/release clause in the agreement. Under the terms of your
tenancy, the deposit cannot be used to pay rent.
can you pay particular attention to the following:
will be responsible for leaving the property in a good and clean condition at
the end of the tenancy. When the inventory agent checks you out fair wear & tear
is taken into consideration. You should have the carpets and property professionally
cleaned and it is advisable to retain any receipts for this work. Be very careful
laundering curtains, because if you accidentally shrink or damage them, you will
be charged for replacements. If in doubt seek professional advice before cleaning
Cleaning It is a good idea that your cleaners pay attention to dust on skirting
boards, condensation stains on windows, frames, light fittings, and bathroom fittings,
kitchen cupboards etc. Windows must be cleaned regularly and unless you are in
a block of apartments the external glass as well. If you do not want to do this,
please employ a window cleaner. Ensure that the tops of kitchen cupboards are
cleaned. Cookers, grills, oven are clean including under the hob rings. Remember
that fat can splash down the sides of cookers. Fridges and freezers should be
defrosted regularly throughout the tenancy. This ensures they perform better and
ice does not obstruct the opening & closing of compartment doors. Beware of washing
paintwork with bleach and make sure that lime scale build up is regularly removed
make sure that these are swept annually, the best time will be after the winter,
but under the terms of the tenancy, if there is a working fire at the property,
You should retain receipts from the chimney sweep.
& wall surfaces If
you need to touch up paint during the tenancy or at the end make sure you are
using the correct colour and texture. It is no good touching up vinyl silk with
vinyl matt. You must obtain consent if you want to hang any pictures etc. If walls
are badly marked, you could be charged for redecorating all the room. You must
not carry out any redecoration (other than that described above) with out the
written consent of the Landlord. Please take great care when moving furniture
about, or when your removal contractors are moving your belongings about. We have
found from experience that much of the damage to decoration and doorframes is
caused by boisterous children or badly trained pets. Please also take great care
with your Landlord's furniture.
of the property You must notify the Landlord or Managing Agent about any defect
at the property, or if equipment does not work. You should not call out a contractor
yourself to repair an item, unless you broke it and would be responsible for payment.
there is not a garden or the Landlord is employing a gardener, you are responsible
for keeping the garden in good condition. If the garden is not properly maintained
a professional gardener will be employed to put it right and you will be charged.
If you are unable to undertake the work, we advise you employ a professional gardener.
of fleas, vermin or similar household pests etc If there is an out break of
household pests one month after the initial tenancy, it will be your responsibility
to have the problem attended to.
drainage pipes and cold weather precautions Please remember you are responsible
for paying for the unblocking of waste pipes, keeping guttering cleaned (unless
in an apartment) and ensuring the pipes do not freeze up in the winter months.
Be very careful not to put boiling fat down sink drains and to clean out gutterings
in the autumn. If you leave the property in the cold weather, keep the heating
running and if you are going to be away for a few days have the entire system
professionally drained down, It is no good just turning off the cold water supply
if there is still water in tanks and radiators."
CHECK OUT: - At the end of the tenancy a Check out inspection is carried
out. Notes are made on the 'master inventory' of any variations since the Check
in. An inventory clerk will then list the significant differences on a Check out
Cleaning is often a major area of dispute. Landlords and tenants are advised
to retain all receipts relating to cleaning and repairs carried out before or
during a tenancy. It should be noted that an Inventory Clerk cannot comment usefully
on any alterations or additions made after the Check in unless he/she was instructed
to revisit the property in order to examine these changes at the time they were
useful aide memoir is send a tenant a letter a couple of weeks before the moving
out /check out date with the following information in it "Professional cleaning
The following is a description of what professional cleaning entails which
has been provided by a professional cleaning company and may prove helpful prior
to your check out being carried out.
Sink taps de-scaled and cleaned, sink cleaned. All wall tiles cleaned and polished.
All paintwork washed an all worktops cleaned. All cupboards cleaned inside and
out. Floor cleaned
Degreased and cleaned including all shelves and dishes, extractor fan degreased
Cleaned inside and out and defrosted.
MACHINE Cleaned inside and out, soap dispensers removed if possible and cleaned.
other appliances cleaned
All taps de-scaled and cleaned, sink and bath cleaned. Toilet de-scaled and
cleaned. All wall tiles cleaned and polished. Any other fittings cleaned. Floor
ROOMS All other rooms paintwork washed. All carpets cleaned and stains
professionally removed if possible. All furniture cleaned and polished. Upholstery
cleaned upon request."
Check-out report is the basis for most claims made by landlords. A claim is most
often viewed more favourably if compiled by an independent and unbiased party
such as an Independent Inventory Clerk, particularly in a Court of Law.
area of major concern is "Fair Wear and Tear" - This has been defined in
part through the legal process. A tenant cannot be held responsible at the end
of a tenancy for changes to a property's condition caused by what the House of
Lords has called "reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary
operation of natural forces (i.e. the passage of time)." A professional inventory
clerk uses experience and common sense to assess the many factors present before
reaching a judgement as to how much should be allowable for Fair Wear and Tear.
Amongst other things they will consider:-
quality of the supplied item (and that varies greatly)
condition at the start of the tenancy
condition at the end of the tenancy
is important to realise that the Law does not allow for betterment. This means
that a landlord can not expect to have old replaced with new at a tenant's expense.
A Fair Wear and Tear allowance must be considered. A tenant has a duty of care
to return the property at the end of a tenancy in the same condition, Fair Wear
and Tear excepted, as that recorded on the Inventory at the start of their tenancy.
have an accepted life expectancy. However, there may be circumstances where excessive
wear and tear require a tenant to pay compensation or charges to make good, e.g.
numerous nail or picture pin holes, torn wallpaper, gouges in walls/woodwork etc.
Charges for cleaning, making good etc are often apportioned to account for Fair
Wear and Tear.
renting a property and the inventory from the Check in inspection notes that the
carpet in the living room had not been freshly cleaned and had a few spot marks.
At the end of the tenancy, the Check out report notes the carpet as soiled. In
this scenario the landlord should not be entitled to full compensation for the
carpet cleaning costs. A fair solution would be for the tenant to pay a percentage
of the cleaning costs which would be calculated by a professional Inventory Clerk
without an inventory report it may prove difficult for a landlord to make a successful
claim against a tenant for damage repair or cleaning costs. Tenants should also
be aware that if an inventory does not include sufficient notes on the condition
of items at the start of the tenancy, they may be charged for damage or cleaning
that is not their liability. To ensure that end of tenancy negotiations can be
dealt with quickly and easily it is best to make sure that:
full inventory is prepared before a tenancy starts
inventory is checked very carefully during the Check-in inspection and agreed
by both parties
Check-out inspection is thorough and any items that may lead to claims are witnessed.
you use a Professional Inventory Clerks, they are carrying this out as their business
and spend all day every day inspecting properties to make sure that there is sufficient
written evidence to protect landlords and tenants.
above has been compiled to assist people with rental terminology. We advise that
this information is for guidance only and cannot be relied on for accuracy and
that you should consult a qualified legal representative if you require full explanation.
© jml Property Services November 2005
Association of Professional Inventory Providers
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