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Why Should I Use an Inventory?
Tenancy deposit protection does not make inventories compulsory. However, in practice, they are essential and should even be considered for best practice if not taking a deposit. Not only will you need an inventory in the sense of a list of items included in the tenancy (e.g. beds, curtains etc) but the landlords inventory will have to record any damage/the condition of each item and any existing defects at the beginning of the tenancy will need to be set out.
If your deposit is intended to cover damage to the property itself you will also need a condition schedule. Again, this will need to record any damage which exists when the tenancy starts.
If an item of furniture is new or if the property has been recently internally decorated this will need to be recorded in your conditions schedule. You will need to take a full photographic record (e.g. with a digital camera or camcorder).
When and how to take an Inventory
As a landlord you will need to take an inventory/condition schedule both at the start of the tenancy and when the tenancy ends. You will need to make sure that at the beginning of the tenancy the tenant(s) signs off the inventory/condition schedule.
You must make sure that you check it carefully before they sign. Any photographs should be dated. For example you can always hold up a newspaper showing the date when you take one of the photographs or, if you are using your smart phone, a phone app like Solocator for inserting the date and time into your photographs..
It may not always be possible to get the tenant to check out the inventory/condition schedule at the end of the tenancy but try to do so wherever possible.
Where available consider employing an inventory clerk to prepare these inventories/condition schedule.
The RLA Property Inventory, Condition Schedule & Safety Checklist
The RLA now provides an inventory for furnished and unfurnished property along with continuation sheets for each additional bedroom and bathroom in your property. Combining these documents allows you to customise your inventory to match the specifics of your own property.
The RLA inventories are all designed to be either completed by hand as you walk around or electronically on a laptop or tablet using a pdf reader.
If you have any issues saving the document or inserting details into the provided spaces, then please see our guide to using adobe reader.
Alternatively, you may wish to consider trialling or purchasing the RLA's Inventory Plus App which combines great reporting features, step by step guidance on completing your inventory and right to rent reports.
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