Inventories and inspections - why are they so important?
As a property management company, our landlords best interests are at the heart of what we do. Therefore, when it comes to rental properties, we always try to give the best advice in order for each tenancy to run as smoothly as possible. Maintaining rental properties to a good standard is essential and we always advise our landlords to have inventories, mid-term inspections and check out reports conducted for all tenancies. But why is it so important and what could happen if they are not carried out? Move-in Inventory:
A move-in inventory report is carried out just before the date that the tenants move in and records the condition of the property and has photo evidence of this. Photos are taken of each feature of each room from flooring, ceiling, walls to furniture, fireplaces plug sockets and any notes are added to this if required.
Meter readings are also taken whilst the inventory is being done and this will be provided to utility providers. We always recommend tenants and the person who carries out the inventory report (whether this is the landlord or managing agent) to check through the report and both sign and date this, to confirm they are happy with everything the report contains and it is a true likeness of the properties current condition.
This is always a huge benefit for landlords and tenants to have as a mutual agreement of the condition of the property and it’s contents that can then be used to work from at the end of the tenancy when the tenants move out to ensure apart from general wear and tear, the property is left in similar repair.
Mid-term inspections are always advised to be carried out every few months or mid way point of the fixed term tenancy. This is to ensure all is well at the property and gives the landlord and tenant an opportunity to point out any potential issues that may occur. Photographs are are also advised to be taken during the visit so that these can be compared to the inventory report that was carried out before the tenant has moved in. These images can also be used in comparison with the following mid-term inspection or check-out report if needed.
If there is damage to the property this is a great way to prove what time frame this has occurred due to the photo evidence and builds a strong case when debating the return of the deposit.
As a landlord or letting agent you must give at least 24 hours notice to the tenant that you will be visiting the property and carrying out the inspection and to confirm if they wish to be present or not during the visit. We would always recommend putting this in writing whether via email or a letter so you have proof that the tenant has been notified of the visit.
Check out inventories are carried out once the current tenancy has expired and the tenant has vacated the property. The tenant or landlord can be present for this or this can just be conducted by the letting agent.
Much like the move-in inventory, meter readings are taken and photographs are taken of all features of the property and notes taken.
This report is then compared to the move-in inventory alongside any mid-term inspections to determine if the full deposit is given back to the tenant or if any deductions need to be made.
Each of the above reports are equally important as they all provide evidence of the property condition before, after and during the tenancy for both landlord and tenant. This can prevent any financial loss and disputes further down the line.
Sometimes damage to the property is no ones fault and can be caused due to external matters such as floods, storms etc. if you have insurance in place this may be covered by this. If not, as the landlord and the owner of the property, it is still your responsibility to rectify these issues to ensure your tenant resides in a suitable condition.
However, damage caused by the tenants whether accidental or deliberately would be at the cost of the tenant to rectify. Again, this is why we stress having mid-term inspections and inventories in place as evidence of this is clear to see and diffuses any disputes quickly. Without this photo evidence, things could become very difficult with it becoming one persons word against the other.
From 1st December 2022, there will be a requirement for every new tenancy to have an inventory report conducted on the property before the tenants move in and for both them and the agent/landlord to sign and date and have a copy. There may also be a requirement for mid-term inspections and end of tenancy check out reports to be compulsory as well. This has now been confirmed by Rent Smart Wales and will come into force 1st December 2022.