The Inventory or Schedule of condition is an agreed record of the property and its contents at the start of the tenancy. It is used at the end of the tenancy to assess whether the tenant has caused any damage, removed items and left the property in a reasonable condition.
There is no legal requirement to have an inventory, however it is your best protection to ensure you can claim any cost or compensation for damage or poor condition from your tenant when they leave, usually from their deposit, or possibly from the relevant no deposit scheme.
The quality of inventories has increased substantially in recent years. It is now a minimum requirement to have date stamped colour photographs as well as written detail of each item, fitting and feature of a room, along with a detailed description of its condition and any specific marks or issues. Inventories are now typically over 50 pages. You can see sample inventories in the Landlord Download area.
The inventory must be signed by the tenants at the start of the tenancy to agree it is an accurate record.
Without such an inventory you will have almost no grounds to resist any objection the tenant makes to anything you wish to charge them at the end of their tenancy, as you will not be able to prove what existed at the start of the tenancy.
Given this, it is essential to have a detailed inventory produced by someone with experience in this area. We use independent people who are members of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks.
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