If your property is unfurnished do you still need an inventory? Absolutely!
The word ‘Inventory’ brings back painful memories of a summer holiday job I once had at a large chemist in Central London. For this job I regularly found myself counting the numbers of shampoo bottles, bath salts and shower caps on display and in the store room. Was this work important? Yes. Did it make customers happy by ensuring we always had what they wanted to buy? Yes. Was it fun and exciting? No, absolutely not!
It’s the same with property inventories. They can be painfully dull to put together but in my opinion they are absolutely essential. A good inventory helps ensure the landlord is not left out of pocket for damage to their property. It provides a snapshot of the property and says ‘This is the condition of this property at the start of this tenancy’.
With a detailed inventory containing words and images, it’s easy to identify damage, which helps negotiations between landlord/ agent and tenant for any deductions that need to be made from the deposit. If agreement can’t be reached and adjudication is required by one of the registered deposit schemes, then an inventory (agreed by both parties) is essential.
Over time I’ve seen some very poor inventories, my favourite read simply - ‘Everything in the flat is new’.
I also often meet landlords who say ‘My property is unfurnished so I don’t need an inventory’. But even an unfurnished property can be damaged.
The most common issue we encounter at the end of tenancies is cleaning, particularly ovens which on their own will cost around £60 to clean, and cleaning a two bedroom flat costs around £175. Then consider if there is damage to carpets, bathroom furniture, kitchen appliances etc., without an inventory how do you prove it?
One landlord I know found that his otherwise fantastic tenant had used the kitchen worktop as a chopping board, with no inventory it cost him £450 in materials and labour to replace. That's roughly three times what an inventory would have cost him.
While an inventory may add to your costs at the start of the tenancy when your costs are already higher than normal, it can save you considerably more money in the long run.
See our previous article identifying a few steps (including inventories) that can be taken to reduce the risk of damage to your property here.