By Sean Ford | January 20, 2014
Have you ever done an inventory check? Do you even know what one is? Put simply, an inventory check is usually done to create an agreement between the tenant and the landlord as to the contents and condition of a property, including fixtures, fittings and any electrical goods.
Inventories are made at the start and end of the tenancy and any damage to goods on the original inventory can then be deducted from the tenant’s deposit. It’s a very important part of renting a property, but what’s the best way to go about it?
1.Have a clear, detailed list of what needs to be checked. There are several sample inventories available for free simply by searching the internet. Ideally, you should have an identical list for each room with separate sections covering all aspects of the condition of the room – walls and ceiling, curtains or blinds, floor coverings, doors etc.
2. Note down every mark or scrape, no matter how small. It might feel petty to write down ‘1cm chip in paint on skirting board’ but if you don’t, and it’s picked up at your exit inventory, you could end up paying for it to be repaired.
3. Take photographs of any existing damage or areas of concern. Make sure that photos are date-stamped so it is clear that they were taken on the day of the inventory.
4. Ensure that the form includes details of any furniture and electrical goods included in the rental. You don’t want your tenant or landlord claiming that items have disappeared when they weren’t even there in the first place.
5. Make sure that everyone involved in the inventory signs and dates the inventory form before they leave the property.
But inventory checks are not just for rental properties – it’s a good idea to do one every few years in any home to ensure you have the correct level of cover for your house insurance. As we constantly buy new things, particularly expensive gadgets, it’s easy to lose track of what we have and the cost to replace everything. Here are a few tips for doing a home inventory for insurance purposes.
1. Tidy up! It’s so much easier to catalogue everything when the place is tidy and everything is where it should be.
2. Make a list for each room, with headings such as fittings, furniture, clothes, electrical items, books and miscellaneous. List everything in each room, under the appropriate heading. Assign a value to each item.
3. Don’t forget the contents of your cellar or attic, garage or shed. The purpose of this is to create a list of absolutely everything you would need to replace in the event of a disaster.
4. Take photos. This can help prove to your insurance company that you did indeed own any of the items you are claiming for.
5. Keep an electronic or paper copy of your inventory somewhere safe, preferably not in the house it refers to. Should the worst happen, you will at least have your list safe and sound and it will form a good starting point for discussions with your insurance company.