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The importance of having an independent Inventory

T. Stencel
Published: Jan 2021

Independent inventory report

The advantage, and importance, of having a professional independent inventory report drawn up, cannot be underestimated. A poorly recorded or insufficiently detailed report, may leave the landlord without having a foundation for a claim.

A landlord may construct his own inventory but there are 2 major disadvantages that pertain to this.

Firstly - Detail. A property inventory report needs to be highly detailed to stand up in court. Fixtures and fittings need to be objectively analyzed with a critical eye. Independent inventory clerks are trained to record everything they see and note the condition in a highly descriptive manner, whilst a landlord, having had no specialist training, may brush over or overlook many areas of importance.

Here is an example of a detailed description and analysis of the condition of an item. Lets take a look at a pair of curtains in the reception room of a two bedroom rental property.

Description of item: 1 x Set of grey, chenille effect, pinch pleated curtains with white back linings mounted on a white acrylic curtain rail with pull cables, wall mounted toggles and frame mounted cable cleats.

Condition of item: The curtains are "above floor" length, there is a small tear at mid-level to the interior back lining of the left curtain. There is a low level brown stain of approximately "5" x "6" to the front lining of the right side curtain with a small cigarette type burn mark directly adjacent to the stain. The curtains have been professionally steam-cleaned (Invoice seen) and are in working order.

Here we leave no doubt as to the appearance of the curtains and the condition they are in, and this is reinforced with supplementary digital photographs exposing the areas with defects.

We have also specified the length of the curtains while detailing them.

This is very important because if the curtain bases drag on the floor and are over length, the tenant would not be liable for any cleaning charges ( at the check out) , as the curtains would be dragging across the floor and getting soiled throughout the tenancy from normal day to day usage . In this instance, the landlord would have to foot the cleaning cost. A landlord could save money here by shortening the curtains and cleaning them pre - tenancy. If the curtains were now found soiled at the time of the check out inspection, this would be at the liability of the tenant. It is also important to have individual clauses in the tenancy agreement to state what is expected from the tenant when they leave the property.

Secondly - Bias.

The report may simply not be taken as 100% fact for the reason that the landlord has an obvious vested interest in his/ her own property. An example of this would be the landlord stating that all of the fixtures and fittings are in good condition but failing to mention any defects such as scuffs on walls, picture hooks and drilled holes, clothing stains on radiators etc. that an independent inventory clerk would make a note of.

To summarize, a well drawn up inventory protects your most expensive investment, your property. And most importantly, gives you more peace of mind, in the event you have to make a claim for damages.