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Landlord Inventories – top tips

Posted by markharrison on July 9, 2008

I’ve been sent a review copy of Toby Hone’s excellent ebook this week. (More about that in a few days, when I’ve finished my comments to him.)

I’ve made a couple of suggestions to Toby about adding to the section he writes on page 42 about the importance of decent inventories, so I thought I’d blog about this subject.

If possible, I always carry out check-in inventories myself. I’m afraid that I’ve yet to find an agency who carries them out to the level of detail I expect. I regularly get feedback from agents along the lines of “I’ve never seen an inventory that detailed.” There are two things I include that virtually no-one else does, but that have certainly been worth their weight in gold.

  1. If I include appliances, I include the make and model, as well as age. It is not unknown, alas, for an inventory to read “a fridge”, and find that the fridge returned at the END of the tenancy is smaller / older than the fridge provided
  2. If possible, take round a digital camera, and photograph the condition. This is, again, particularly important for any furniture / appliances you include, since it provides proof (once the tenant has signed the inventory) of what was left.

Obviously, none of this removes the fact that you CAN’T claim against a tenant for “reasonable wear and tear”, but this isn’t about protecting yourself from good tenants (the vast majority) – it’s about protecting yourself from bad!

For the record, in 14 years, I’ve only ever made a deposit deduction twice, and one of those was made by an agency I used on a full management basis from the days before I learnt to manage my own properties.

[Declaration – if you buy the ebook as a result of clicking the link above, I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. Our policy is always to declare commission/affiliate links, but only to recommend products based on personal experience.]


3 Responses to “Landlord Inventories – top tips”

  1. Poppy D said

    I always find it interesting how some landlords use such shoddy inventories that, as you say, I could take the nice TV when I move on and leave a crappy B&W one in it’s place if I wanted. I’d never do that, but obviously a landlord wouldn’t want that option open to their tenants.

    I’ve been renting the flat I live in through a big London agent for over a year now, but I never signed an inventory. A lady from an agency came round to do one but because the cleaners were still there (from the previous tenant moving out) she said she’d have to do it another day. She never came back and although I repeatedly told the agent I haven’t had an inventory they never sent someone round. Legally, could I do anything I like and get the whole deposit back?! I mean, I haven’t damaged anything, but I’m sure the landlord who is being represented by the agent would be pretty narked to know there was no inventory done.

  2. Poppy,

    You COULD do that… in the same way that you COULD drive round the M25 at 130mph at 2am, or rob a bank… just because you MIGHT get away with it, doesn’t mean you should 🙂

    Seriously, though – what the Agency have done is outrageous – they have almost certainly charged you or the landlord for providing a service, and for them to make this charge and NOT provide the service is potentially fraudulent!

    Do you have a means of contacting the landlord other than by the agency (your AST must, by law, contain an address on which you can contact the landlord – however, this may simply be the agency address!)


  3. Great article. If anyone is interested here are some more general Tips for Landloads

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