What is an Inventory?
So, what is a property inventory?
I am still surprised every week by the huge number of people I encounter who have heard the term “Inventory Clerk” but have literally no idea what we do. Renting a property is something that almost everybody does at some point in their lives. As housing prices go up and with the challenges around saving for a deposit and getting a mortgage, renting for life is becoming a reality for so many people. When asked, most people can give you a basic description of what a letting agent does or the role of a residential property manager. I honestly can’t remember one person who could tell me what an inventory clerk actually does. The most common answer is “They count the knives and forks right!?” closely followed by “Oh, I didn’t realise that that was a thing!”
So what do we do?
In short, we complete inventory makes, check in, check out and interim inspections (amongst a whole host of corporate services), but the first 4 are the ones which you as a tenant need to be aware of. My next few blogs will describe what each of these services entails starting with the inventory.
A property inventory is usually created for the property when a property owner decides to rent the property out. The inventory make usually happens just before their first tenant moves in. Far from popular belief, this is not an inventory of contents; it’s far more detailed than that. It should include a description and condition of everything (not just the knives and forks, that would be far too easy!) from your front door through to bedding, and kitchenware.
Descriptions – we are not experts in colour, antiques, fabrics, designers. The purpose of the description is so that the reader may confidently identify the item being described from the description and supporting photographs. For example: ‘black leather effect sofa’.
Condition - alongside the description would then be a description the condition of each item/area along with any defects. The absence of a condition description means no defects, we had nothing to say. The level of detail in the condition description depends wholly on the item and the effect that its defects may have on your deposit. To use the example of the black leather effect sofa: ‘good used condition, clean and intact’ means in good condition without any defects. We would expect the condition to remain similar throughout the tenancy.
In short, what you see at the start of your tenancy is what we see and report in the inventory. We advise keeping everything in similar condition throughout your tenancy to avoid any conflict in the end!