What is a Check In Inspection?
In our last blog we explained the creation of a property inventory, we’re onto the really important bit…how is it used?
An inventory is not compulsory however it is vital evidence should you need to dispute a deduction from your deposit. Although the inventory can be compiled by the landlord themselves, external inventory companies tend to be used for a number of reasons.
Quality – a professional inventory clerk will capture everything necessary whilst creating a clear and concise report
Bias – a report provided by a professional clerk is not subject to bias, whereas a landlord may be influenced by an emotional or financial attachment. Similar at check out, as a tenant, seeing the property everyday may prevent you from noticing things which would benefit from repair
Efficiency – unless your landlord is a full time professional landlord it may be difficult for them to find the time to compile a comprehensive report
At the beginning of a tenancy, it is now standard practice for a check in inspection to be booked as the very first part of your tenancy, but what does it involve? Although not always possible, the ideal scenario would be that your check in is scheduled just before you start your move in. The idea being that once the inspection is complete, you take possession and therefore responsibility for the property. On the day, the likelihood is that your clerk will have been at the property for at least an hour before you arrive. During this time they are either checking/updating the inventory or making a new one. You can expect one of 3 types of report.
A new inventory accompanied by a schedule of condition at check in – when this is the first time the property has been let or after extensive works. The schedule of condition will likely form part of the inventory report (1 combined document)
An updated inventory accompanied by a schedule of condition at check in – if your agent or landlord uses the same inventory company consistently they are likely to update an inventory held on file rather than create a new inventory from scratch each time. The finished product will look the same as if they had created a new inventory (1 combined document)
A separate check in report – usually where one company has completed an inventory inspection and another is used for the check in inspection. The company completing the check in inspection will use the inventory to cross check the condition of the property but compile a separate check in report stating the condition witnessed at check in. In this scenario you will likely be provided with 2 documents, the original inventory and a separate check in report.
During and after a check in inspection there are a number of things which a clerk will do in addition to checking the inventory and a longer list of things which they aren’t responsible for doing.
Things we do!
Check the accuracy of the inventory report and update the report record differences where necessary
Check functionality of locks
Make a list of keys to be released to the tenant
Take opening meter readings where possible
Take supporting photographs
Report any findings of concern to the tenant and landlord/managing agent immediately
Explain the purpose of the report, how it is used and necessary follow up to the tenants – feedback, agreements etc.
Provide a full and clear inventory and schedule of condition with supporting photographs to the tenant and landlord within a timely manner (usually around 2 working days after the inspection) along with availability to explain anything on the report which either party does not understand
What don’t/can’t we do?
We cannot lift furniture! We are but one person, in the absence of being able to lift your super king size bed and orthopaedic mattress we will be down on our hands and knees with a torch to see as much as we can see without moving it! Clerks spend most of their days working alone and there are certain things which we don’t do in order to prevent damage to ourselves and the properties we inspect such as lifting large items of furniture. As a rule we do lift your mattress if we can.
We don’t carry/climb ladders! Since change in legislation last year we have received numerous requests to test smoke/carbon monoxide alarms. We do this wherever reasonably possible with the aid of something long and pointy! However, if you are lucky enough to have super high ceilings we are not going to be able to reach them and will not risk climbing a ladder whilst alone in a property. If this is the case we would recommend that your landlord/managing agent checks these prior to your check in.
We do not explain how your appliances work or confirm that they do indeed function fully. We are there to report the condition of the property you are taking responsibility for - not test the efficiency of your boiler. We test for power and check for cosmetic damages however further than this is the realms of a specialist. For us to state that something is in working order would require mechanical knowledge of a very wide variety of appliances and the time to test its functionality completely ie. Pop some dirty washing into your machine and wait to find out if it cleaned them!
We do not fix or change things! We are a contractor paid to create a report. Most of us would genuinely love to fix up whatever we can there and then to make you happy but that would affect the integrity of our reports…and we certainly don’t do that!
In short, or as short as my blogs get…if you have had an inventory clerk contact you to book a check in inspection at a new property, it’s a sure sign that your tenancy deposit is being taken seriously, which is a good thing!