DIY Property Inventory — Things to Consider Before Renting

rental planningEquipping your property in order to increase its value is a pretty good idea. But, renting out an apartment without a deposit is too risky, right? Well, investing in your property without a property inventory is the same as letting it without a deposit.

In such a situation, in case of property damage, tenants won’t have to accept any deductions when they move out. You would be at the mercy of their good will.

But, simply putting together a document isn’t enough. This guide will help you compile a watertight DIY property inventory and avoid deposit disputes in the future.

How to Compile DIY Property Inventory

Many landlords compile property inventories all by themselves. It’s a good way to save a couple of bucks. But, a poorly compiled inventory is almost the same as having no inventory at all. To do a good job, you’ll need to invest a bit of time and effort into it.

You’ll need to do the following:

  • Prepare your inventory template and start from the entrance.
  • Record the decorative order and overall cleanliness.
  • Take at least five photos of every room.
  • Make sure that photos of particularly valuable or noteworthy areas are very clear. You’d want every detail to be easy to see.
  • If possible, record high-quality videos as well.
  • List all valuables. Describe the condition of every item.

Prepare Your Property Inventory Template

For a proper landlord inventory, you need a well-designed template that includes a full list of the property items and their description. Don’t forget to use “fixed” items. This includes doors, cupboards, ceilings, walls, HVAC system, etc.

Inspecting certain equipment requires a trained eye. For instance, it would be wise to have a professional inspect and configure your kitchen extract ductwork and attest to its quality. Kitchen ducts are used to remove smoke and odors. Because grease, dust and other particles can accumulate within ducts, kitchen ductwork can be a fire risk. It’s not enough to have fire-resistant ductwork.

A professional should check the integrity of the ducts and the insulation. Such inspections are sure to incur additional costs, but they can help you protect your property and its tenants, as well as avoid liability. If you are not sure how to inspect some items on your list, always consult with a professional.

Include flooring, wallpapers, paintwork and all the fittings on the list. Don’t take anything for granted, not even the floor covering.

Get the Timing Right

As far as inventories go, “when” is just as important as “how.” If you do it a month or two before tenants move in, the property inventory probably won’t hold water if some disputes arise.

In fact, it’s best to do it on the day they move in. To make it easier on you, you should set the move-in date. Some tenants may ask for more flexibility. In order to protect yourself, you should decline such requests. Don’t wait for them to move in first either. It may be difficult to differentiate between your property and theirs.

At the end of their tenancy, perform the final check on the very day they move out. Allowing them to check out before they actually move out can make your whole inventory fall through. If you do it a few days after, they may claim that you’ve made some changes to the property since they left.

The only way to be truly accurate is to do it on the same day they move out. The tenants should move out their possessions before the final inspection. They should also be present when it happens, and you need to make sure to take the keys back as well.

Schedule Inspections

It’s best to inspect the property every three months. Inspections are an integral part of landlord life. When scheduling inspections, keep in mind that your tenants have a right to 24 hours’ notice. If you spot any damages, flag them and discuss then and there.

Wear and Tear

Walls will become scuffed eventually and carpets will wear over time. That’s why it’s paramount to include accurate descriptions in your property inventory. If a tenant decides to claim the previously unseen tear on the sofa is “wear and tear,” you’d want to be able to settle the matter immediately.

Damages Procedure

You can draw up estimates for replacements or repairs if damage has occurred. If that happens, update your tenancy deposit scheme and let the tenant know the costs. If the deposit isn’t big enough to cover the cost, you will need to invoice them and agree on a payment schedule.

Make sure the property Inventory is signed and dated; otherwise, it is not a legally binding document. There is no evidence that the tenants agree with the inventory if there is no signature. It will suggest that they didn’t sign the document because they weren’t too happy with it.

A proper inventory is the foundation of a healthy tenant-landlord relationship. It will help make sure that your good relationship doesn’t deteriorate right at the end of the tenancy. Compiling an inventory is one of the best ways to protect your property and yourself.

Kevin JeffersonAbout The Author

Kevin Jefferson has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of his work at Plainhelp.