Are inventories necessary?
Every landlord should have an inventory for each property. It is important to prepare a document showing the condition of the property provided. Without it you may be unable to claim for deductions from the deposit at the end of the tenancy if there is damage to the property.
An inventory may be a written document, a series of photographs or preferably both. Some property owners now use video cameras to record the condition of the property. The key is that the inventory should be clear, accurate and sufficiently detailed, as it may constitute evidence which you will need to rely on in court.
If the property is unfurnished - do I still need an inventory ?
Yes, many landlords believe that if their property is unfurnished, they do not need an inventory because there is very little that can be stolen, broken or damaged. However, an inventory also records the colour and condition of walls, carpets, curtains, etc., in order to ensure that the tenant does not choose to redecorate in an entirely inappropriate colour scheme for example, and also to ensure that the walls, for example, are not left with heavy chipping and damage. Without an inventory, if you deduct monies from the tenant’s deposit and the tenant sues you, you may not only return the monies to the tenant and also pay their legal costs, but you may also need to pay for the return of the property back to its former state! An inventory helps prevent this from happening.
Every property should have an inventory. All inventories should be prepared by an inventory clerk. Inventory clerks are independent persons who go through your property and note everything, If you prepare an inventory yourself and the tenant disagrees with the document, he or she may refuse to sign it. You need the tenant’s signature on the inventory to validate it. A tenant is unlikely to disagree with an inventory clerk however as they are impartial, professional people independent from the landlord. A judge will not look favourably upon an inventory prepared by a landlord, because they will see it as an amateur attempt to fulfil a duty. Judges are notoriously favourable to tenants and will tend to find in their favour unless there is absolute evidence to the contrary.
An inventory clerk will make an inventory, give a check in report and do a check out report. These are three vital documents that every landlord should have for each property. The making of the inventory will usually happen only once, though we would suggest that a new one is taken every five years. The inventory manual is then used for all check ins and check outs.
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