More and more unfurnished apartments are being rented out without a property inventory. However, many landlords have learned the hard way that this can be the equivalent of not taking a deposit. Without a property inventory, any deductions can’t be proven. The tenant is under no obligation to compensate for unreasonable damage.
Writing a property inventory
A non-legal property inventory is not worth the paper it’s written on. A property inventory needs to be legal and reasonable. If you’re an expert, perhaps you can write one yourself; otherwise, you’ll need to seek the advice of a professional or use property inventory software. There’s no middle ground with property inventories. Either it’s satisfactory, or it will prove inadequate if a dispute occurs.
Check in and check out
The backbone of the inventory system is the agreement between the two parties on the condition of the property. This means the landlord should carefully document and photograph the rooms and external space to show condition and fittings. The new client should walk the property with the landlord, initialing each page to show agreement. This document can be easily made with property inventory software.
When the tenant moves out, the procedure is repeated. Any damage should then be clearly recognizable. However, knowing what needs to be documented and what you can skip can also be problematic. The term “reasonable wear and tear” allows for minor scuffs, stains and breakages associated with use. For example, if a handle comes loose from a kitchen drawer being opened 10 times a day, this is reasonable.
Many properties are subject to rolling tenancies. This happens when two flatmates rent a property and one moves out and another moves in. As you will see if you use Property Investment Software, this needs to be covered with a new inventory signing. It’s time for the old and existing tenant to announce any repairs needed and for the new tenant to agree on the condition of the property.
Time and money
Too often, landlords – particularly those with small portfolios or property in a different country – will waive an inventory because it’s too tricky to arrange and costs time and money. However, once you’ve stepped inside a badly used rented property and had your demands for compensation refused, you’ll see the value.