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Why have a professional inventory and check-in?

My friend recently decided to rent out her property for the first time, she told me that she wanted to save the cost of having a professional inventory & just write her own.  After going through all the preparation of renting out her property, I explained to her that it is so important to have a professional inventory & schedule of condition drawn up by an independent clerk, so that the true condition of the property is fully documented.

Tudor Court

Tudor Court

Without this independent report, or on the evidence of an inventory drawn up by her, she could easily face problems at the end of the tenancy, if the tenants caused any damage inside the property, or left without having it professionally cleaned. If it was to go to a dispute, the adjudicator would be very likely to decide that with no ‘un-biased’ evidence to show that the property is now in a considerably worse state, the tenants should receive their full deposit back. My friend therefore quickly decided to have a professional inventory after all!

An inventory is drawn up as an impartial report to benefit both the Landlord and the Tenant. As a Landlord, if you find that the tenant has caused damage to the property you would need to prove this to deduct an amount from the deposit to cover any repairs needed. Without an independent inventory & check-in report, the deposit scheme would expect to see an un-biased report describing the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. Without this very good evidence, a Landlord would be very unlikely to get any money back from the scheme and would have to pay to repair any damage at their own cost. The price of an inventory & check-in for a 2 bedroom property, for example, would be around £200, but the cost of rectifying any damage or organising cleaning could be a lot more than this. The original cost of £200 is therefore a small price to pay to know that you would be able to prove any fair costs due to you.

As a tenant, it’s important to know that your deposit is safe and that you cannot be charged for any damage which wasn’t caused during the course of your tenancy. Through Sewell & Gardner you would pay to have a professional check-out at the end of your tenancy, to assess the condition of the property when you leave it. A professional inventory clerk would have to allow for ‘fair wear & tear’, and would be able to fairly decide on any deductions which should be made.

Landlords and tenants often think at the start of a new tenancy that paying for a professional check-in and check-out is an un-necessary cost, but hopefully I have shown that having a professional inventory & schedule of condition is one of the most important documents you can have during a tenancy!

Julia Pennell – Senior Lettings Negotiator