Landlords – protect your property and avoid complications at the end of the tenancy by making sure that your tenant completes a property inventory when the tenancy starts.

One of the most common ‘flashpoints’ between landlord and tenant is arguments about the condition of the property and its contents, and deductions from the damage deposit. Most of these arguments can be prevented by drawing up a detailed property inventory.

Since the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme too, landlords who want to claim money from their tenants’ deposits now have to prove that damage has been caused. So if you’re a landlord and you don’t keep an accurate inventory, you’ll find it difficult to justify deductions to a tenant’s deposit.

Here is our quick guide to how you can protect your property, your contents and your pocket!

1. Go through the house room by room.

Note on the property inventory all of the contents in each room. Even if you’re letting a property unfurnished, it’s a good idea to have a inventory to record the condition of the walls and carpets, etc., in case of future dispute.

For example, if there is a stain on the carpet or rug before the tenancy starts, include it in the property inventory. Then the tenant cannot be blamed for it at the end of the tenancy and there won’t be a dispute over the tenant’s damage deposit.

2. Check the property inventory form with the tenant.

The property inventory should be prepared in duplicate and then checked with the tenant before they move into the property. The landlord and tenant should each sign of the inventory forms at the foot of every page.

3. Note down any changes to the property inventory.

Any alterations made at that time should be marked on both copies so that they are identical. One of the signed copies of the property inventory should be attached to the tenant’s tenancy agreement and given to the tenant, and the other attached to the landlord’s tenancy agreement and kept safely.

4. Go through the property inventory form at the end of the tenancy.

When the tenant is about to leave, you (or your letting agent) should meet them at the property and go through the inventory with them again, room by room. If some contents are missing or damaged, it’s often possible to sort out how much should be deducted from the damage deposit there and then.

Download and complete an inventory form now, with our Property Inventory eKit. It lists all of the contents of a property, so you don’t have to remember every item, and includes instructions on how to correctly perform a ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’, as well as guidance on how to calculate damage costs.