A Property inventory is a detailed inspection of a property describing all the contents within & their condition as seen. The details recorded in the inspection is known as the the Inventory Report. This article will help to dispel the property inventory report, the types of reports, and surrounding topics.
First let’s start by defining a Property Inventory report and who typically uses or needs a property Inventory report.
What is a Property Inventory Report?
A property inventory report is compiled from an inspection of the property resulting in a report normally performed by a trained and accredited inventory clerk. The report contains descriptions and conditions of all items in the property (fixed and movable) sometimes referred to as fixtures and fittings. The state of these are always noted as seen at the time of the appointment.
Property inventory reports are typically used as an accompanying document to short hold tenancy agreements. A property inventory report serves as a benchmark for all parties going into the tenancy agreement. It can be seen as a reference document to be used come the end of the tenancy agreement.
The lettings market has seen a relatively recent rise in the number of property inventory reports produced and related services. This can be attributed to the introduction of multiple government backed tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes. The schemes will provide a third party adjudicator should a disagreement arise
What is included in a property inventory report ?
All meter readings, keys, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are detailed where possible and all descriptions are usually accompanied with dated photographs. Inspections usually include the garden and any outbuildings which will be also captured in the report. This detailed document enables accurate assessments to be made about damage and cleaning issues liable to the tenant or landlord.
Why have a property inventory report ?
According the the national association of inventory professionals,
“Should there be an end of tenancy dispute the inventory will be used as the primary piece of evidence by deposit scheme arbitrators or in a court of law”
A spokesperson for Arla Property mark states,
“A detailed inventory will help avoid disputes, whilst any such dispute that does arise about missing contents or condition of the property at the end of the tenancy can be more easily resolve“
In addition there has been introduction of rental legislations passed, governing multiple areas including but not limited to smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations and fair wear and tear.
These new regulations extend the existing requirements for annual Gas safety, Electrical safety, Legionella safety, HMO licensing etc.
Evidence of the necessary Gas Safety certificates and other documents is often captured in the Inventory report. Therefore the inventory report demonstrates evidence of compliance and provides signed confirmation from all parties.
In short, a property inventory report signed and accepted by all parties, helps to demonstrate evidence of compliance with regards to these types of regulations.
Rental Insurance schemes
Recently we have seen emerging new rental insurance schemes offered to the tenants regarding deposit free lettings. The alternative to the security deposit is a rental insurance which can provide cover twice as high as the deposit. An inventory Report is a crucial part of the process in making a claim.
What could cause a tenancy dispute?
The possibilities to end up in a tenancy dispute are rather surprisingly high. Different views on wear and tear, unauthorised pet keeping, odours, outstanding utility bills, issues with cleanliness, vacating the property late etc. The TDS have a library of short and full length case studies on disputes handled. You can pick your read of the case studies on their website according to the relevant dispute category.
How much detail is in the Inventory Report?
Inventories vary greatly in level of detail they present, in style, in format and structure. There are tick box formats and simplified forms which omit the descriptions of items but indicate cleanliness, damage and working order. Then there are comprehensive reports. These have dedicated sections for item description, condition and photograph. They usually include the Schedule of Condition – a statement about the overall condition of the property.
What to expect from a Comprehensive inventory report?
Even comprehensive report can vary significantly in their presentation. The best way to choose is to request a Sample Report and book according to your own needs. In general there are certain things that every inventory report should have.
Some reports will just about qualify as detailed, others will be very detailed or lengthy.
Details the comprehensive reports may capture.
Hairline cracks in walls and ceilings may be noted – but it is generally hardly something that a tenant will cause. On the other hand – curtain poles should be stated if with finials or not, radiators if with controls or not etc.
Some providers refer to conditions more generically than others. It is unfortunate when pinhead chips to flooring or worktop were not spotted at Check In but are noted at Check out. This is why both parties should be allowed 5-7 days from receiving the Check In Inventory report to add comments with photographic evidence.
The opportunity for the tenant and landlord to check the report, approve it or amend it is rather fair and what’s more it prevents disputes.
An Inventory report should be a fair and empowering tool preventing rental disputes.
Why it can be helpful to provide tenant and Landlord details ?
It is useful to provide your inventory clerk with the tenants names and details. Surely you can forward the report to them yourself, but don’t forget they have 5-7 days to approve it – from the time they receive the inventory report, not from the time it was produced. If the inventory clerks possess the tenant details, the report is delivered to all parties as soon as its produced.
Is it possible to extend details in the Inventory Report?
This varies by service provider meaning the levels of detail in your report is possible to extend. Many companies like Pixel Inventory will have extras to offer. If you have a brand new property with full on brand new appliances you may consider purchasing a Checklist noting in writing serial numbers of all appliances within your asset.
Decorating your apartment with branded vases, sculptures, canvas or presenting it with fine china dinnerware may lead you to consider discussing a quote for extra items to be noted in detail.
On the contrary some items have relatively short life span and if in use already it is unnecessary to note them in great detail.
What Code of ethics do trained inventory clerks follow?
Property Inventory is performed usually on the basis of a sole worker in the private space of someones home. All inventory clerks are therefore required to hold personal liability and professional indemnity insurance. Some providers will request from the clerks a criminal record check. All Pixel Inventory clerks have personal indemnity and public liability insurance. Beside this, you can find Code of Practice for Property Inventory Providers on the Arla Property Mark website
Inspections are normally performed by a trained and accredited inventory clerk.
What is a Check In?
The main purpose of Check In is to inform the tenant about the Inventory Inspection which just took place and often hand them the keys to the property. Pixel Inventory will Check-in the tenants at the end of the inspection, when the clerk has become familiar with the state of the property.
What Is a Check Out Report?
Check Out Report is directly produced off the back of the Original Inventory from the start of the tenancy. The Inspector compares the conditions of the items at the Check In with their condition at the Check Out. Changes are noted and responsibilities are appointed. This is accompanied with photographic evidence. Suggestions about compensation, cleaning, replacement or maintenance may be presented.
What is a Check Out?
The main purpose of the Check Out is to inform the tenant about the changes on the premises which are being noted in the Report. There is opportunity to answer questions about wear and tear and related matters. Once the Check Out is completed, tenants hand back the keys and no longer have access to the property.
What happens after Check Out?
Usually at this stage the report has been signed and agreed by all parties. If there are points in question it is up to the parties to find an agreement. The report provides a background with evidence and suggestions to work from. Should the parties disagree, each has the right to raise a dispute with the organization holding the deposit.
What happens after a dispute is raised?
In short, once you raise a dispute, the deposit scheme you registered with will confirm the receipt of your request. The other party in dispute will be requested to respond. The amount disputed will be held by the scheme until an adjudicator decides how the money will be apportioned. It will generally take up to 28 days to decide about this.
We hope that you will never need to find out more about rental disputes.
Our mission is to bring Tenants and Landlords at the same page, empower them and prevent disagreements.