If youre a landlord who is renting out a property, it is absolutely essential to take a thorough inventory before a new tenant moves in. If you dont then theres almost no legal recourse for you to reclaim damages from a deposit if a tenant causes damage to your property during their tenancy. If it comes down to your word against theirs, in the majority of cases the tenant will win as its up to you as the landlord to prove that damages have been committed and that reparations are needed.
Security deposits must be legally held by the Tenant Deposit Protection Scheme and they will act as moderators if there are any disputes at the end of the tenancy.
To ensure that you may win any disputes at the end of a tenancy you must undertake a thorough inventory. These are normally performed by professional property inventory companies but you can also do it yourself if you are confident in your abilities.
Every property inventory must begin with an extensive check of the property. There are a variety of things to check, including that the locks, doors and windows are working and that all the plug sockets are in working order.
The next step is to take pictures of the condition of the property before the tenant moves in so that there is clear proof of what the condition of the property is at the start of the tenancy. Undisputed photographic proof is one of the best ways to ensure that you can get your money back should the worst happen.
When the tenant has moved in you should get them to highlight any damages with the property. Any faults should be documented in an inventory form. It would useful to use a grading system to describe the condition of items, especially if the property you are renting out is furnished.
It is worthwhile performing regular property inspections as well to keep an eye on the condition of the property. Pictures of the condition during the tenancy are also useful for your property inventory.
The last step is to again perform another inspection just after the tenant has moved out and taken all their belongings with them. Again taking pictures is best to prove the state of the property and its also important to thorough check all aspects of the property to ensure nothing is broken. Some items dont necessarily seem broken until you test them so ensuring everything is in working order is going to the best way to ensure you know what the propertys condition is.