Since the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme in April 2007 all deposits for assured shorthold tenancies must be registered with an approved scheme. If a dispute occurs between a landlord and tenant regarding the return of the deposit the scheme will hold back the deposit until the dispute has been resolved.
An independent Inventory Report is a complete and comprehensive record of the contents and condition of every room in a property, including the garden. All fixtures, fittings and décor are included. Any marks, chips, or damage are included next to each description, so that the tenant is not held responsible for any existing damage.
The inventory is a comprehensive description of the fabric of the building and includes:
- doors and fittings;
- light fittings;
The Inventory will also include, where relevant, any fittings in the property, white goods, and furniture. Gardens and outbuildings are also described. The Inventory provides a clear written picture of the property and will include the condition, defects and the level of cleanliness.
The Inventory forms the basis of the Check Out report and both documents may be relied upon if there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy.
The tenant will be met at the property on the day of handover. The Tenant is shown aroud the property and invited to add any notes to the ingoing Inventory. At the end of the Check In the Tenant is asked to sign, online, before the keys are handed over.
If the turnaround time does not allow for the Inventory to be completed prior to the Check In then a short Check In document is provided, included a brief description of the property, meter readings and key list. The full inventory is sent to the tenant for signing at a later time, usually not more than 48 hours later.
A Check Out report takes place at the end of tenancy. The signed copy of the Inventory with its Check In notes is used to note any variations, for example any damages, cleanliness, missing or additional items.
If the tenant is present they will be asked to sign a brief Check Out Declaration. This document will include meter readings, general comments and a key list. The complete Check Out Report will follow, usually no more than 48 hours later.
The Check Out report includes details on the differences need to be made good, are a result of fair wear & tear, need to be cleaned or are a result of maintenance issues. New photographs are taken of every room and of any items damaged.
The Check Out report provides both the Tenant and Landlord a clear basis from which to negotiate any further costs which may be incurred following a tenancy. The Check Out inventory may be key during any dispute regarding deposit protection.
Interim Inspections help ensure that landlords and managing agents are aware immediately of any potential problems. Interim Inspections are often arranged directly with the tenant in case they wish to be present.
An Interim Inspection is not a full check out of a property. Being sensitive to the fact that tenants are living in the property, personal possessions will not be moved and comments on the level of cleanliness or tidiness will be general, detailed only if there is a potential health and safety hazard which may cause damage to the building or neighbouring properties.
Areas that could be a cause for concern, such as mould, mildew, leaks, insect/ pest infestation, overcrowding, pets being kept, or smoking in the property will be noted, as will any maintenance issues that may not be immediately obvious, such as intermittent problems with heating or white goods that the tenant may highlight.
Tenants may also be advised on how they can remedy certain things before they become a bigger issue for example; replacing bulbs, keeping a distance between walls and furniture to prevent mildew, ventilating a property, etc.
Smoke, Heat and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Every time a property is visited these are checked. This means that the position is noted and the Test button is pressed and the response detailed.
Inventories provide a fair and accurate detailed record of the contents of the property and their condition plus the internal condition of the property at the time of inventory. As inventory clerks are not qualified surveyors, electricians, plumbers etc, an inventory should be used as a guide, not as a wholly accurate description of each and every piece of furniture and equipment, nor should it be uses as a structural survey report. This guide includes such things as paint colour and fabric colours and content, all of which are only for descriptive purposes, to identify and compare similar items. They should not be relied upon for redecoration or touch up of any paintwork. This means that terms such as silver, chrome, brass, gold, etc relate to the description of the colour and appearance of the item and not to the composition of the material.
Property left in lofts, cellars, garages, sheds and locked cupboards or rooms, which have not been inventoried, are the sole responsibility of the Landlord. Rooms excluded from the tenancy will not be included in the inventory
This inventory is a visual record of the furniture, furnishings and other contents in the property. It does not include any comment or guarantee on the working condition of, or safety of, any fixture or fitting. This includes items such as windows, taps, the heating system, any gas or electrical appliances, none of which will have been opened, switched on/off or in any way tested as part of the inventory. The only exception to this is light bulbs, all of which will be noted as present / not present and working / not working.
Smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms will have the test button pressed and noted as to whether or not an alarm was emitted. Alarms connected to building wide systems, sprinklers etc will NOT be tested, but indicator lights will be looked for and noted.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 – As amended 1994. Wherever possible the presence of fire labels will be noted on the inventory. If not recorded on the inventory such labels were not visible / present.
Loft spaces and cellars will not be listed unless they are habitable, safe to access and included in the tenancy. Ladders are not used during an inventory, so items above eye line will not necessarily be included.