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Is Your Inventory Worth Any More Than Just The Paper It's Written On?
24 April 2012
With our years of experience in the lettings industry, the team at We Let Properties have seen thousands of different inventories. Whether they've been put together by the agent or provided by the landlord, we've seen that everyone has a different expectation of what an inventory should contain and how detailed it needs to be. Most landlords and agents provide a basic written inventory, we even had one landlord who opts for a tenant introduction service, pass us a sheet of paper with a hand written list of contents and think this was substantial enough!
The fact of the matter is; if you want your property to be looked after well, and you want to protect your investment properly, the inventory is one of the most important documents there is when placing a new tenant.
With the government deposit registration schemes in place being designed to protect tenants from un-necessary deductions by rogue landlords, the downside for genuine landlords and agents is that it can be difficult to ensure your tenants agree to deductions for damage they have caused without you having adequate proof that this damage was not there when they took on the property. This means that now more than ever, it is important to ensure a thorough, accurate inventory is provided, signed and witnessed at the beginning of each tenancy.
At We Let Properties, we spend a lot of time ensuring our inventories are specifically tailored to each property and fully detailed with both written and photographic evidence as to condition of not only the contents but also the fixtures and fittings of the property itself. Our inventory, ranging from 15 pages for an unfurnished property up to as many as 30 pages for a fully furnished house (I know...WOW!) is provided inclusive with our fully managed service, or as an optional extra for landlords managing the property themselves.
We find that clearly detailing the exact contents of the property, and showing the tenants that we are paying attention to the condition, encourages them to look after the property more carefully and ensures that when they leave they have a clear standard as to how the property should be handed back. Should we conduct a check out and find damaged furniture/stains on carpets/heavily marked walls, we have the evidence that this has been done whilst they have lived in the property and we have a clear case to ensure the tenants cover any cost of bringing your property back up to standard.
Check out this example recently in which our inventory and good property management ensured the landlord didn't end up with a bill for a new sofa and bathroom lock after a check out!
So, I guess my point is, don't scrimp when it comes to an inventory...you'll only end up paying in the long run with maintenance/damages/carpet cleans. If your agent provides your inventory, check up on them...ask for an example before you instruct them and ask for a copy when it's completed and make sure they are protecting your interests.
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