Circa London Guide on the Importance of Property Inventories

Published: 26/09/2023

The day has arrived – it's move-in day! You've got the keys to your new rental property, and the excitement is palpable. It's tempting to dive right into unpacking and start making this place your own. However, before you get too comfortable, there's a crucial task you should not overlook – performing a property inventory.

What Exactly Is a Property Inventory?

A property inventory is like the passport of your rental journey. It's a comprehensive report that meticulously documents the property's condition at the beginning and end of a tenancy. This report includes not just words but also photographs that catalogue every nook and cranny of the property, along with descriptions and the condition of each item, from walls and doors to floors and skirtings.

Why is an Inventory Report So Vital for Renting a Property?

Think of a tenancy inventory as your security blanket. It shields tenants and landlords from potential disputes related to 
wear and tear, damage, or theft during the tenancy period. At Circa London, we enlist independent specialists to conduct inventory checks, but you should take an active interest in the process as a tenant.

When Should You Perform a Property Inventory?

Timing is crucial when it comes to property inventories. They should be carried out at the beginning and end of each tenancy. While an inventory clerk, managing agent, or landlord may guide you through this process, tenants are strongly encouraged to inspect the property themselves. Besides, it's an excellent opportunity to acquaint yourself with every facet of your new residence.

Can Landlords Do Their Inventory Checks?

Absolutely! While an inventory clerk can produce a professional inventory report, landlords are encouraged to participate in the process and conduct their landlord inventory check. This benefits tenants and provides an extra layer of protection for property owners.

The Power of Thorough Property Inventory Reports

A detailed property inventory report is like a crystal ball, revealing potential issues early in the tenancy. It provides a personal record of the property's expected condition upon your departure, which can serve as evidence if any disagreements arise regarding deposit deductions.
Now, let's delve into the three essential steps to conduct a property inventory and create a tenancy inventory report:

1. The Quick Inventory Check

Begin with a swift walk-through of the entire property, focusing on general cleanliness and noticeable surface problems. Mentally note any glaring issues you'll need to document later.

2. Lights, Camera, Action ...

This step is where the magic happens. Use your smartphone to capture general photos, starting from the entrance and moving through each room. Ensure good lighting by opening curtains and turning on lights. Your mission is to document every aspect of the room, including floors, walls, ceilings, doors, skirtings, furnishings, and more. Take detailed close-ups of any damage you encounter.

Photographic evidence is your best ally, so ensure you get wide shots and close-ups. Remember to scrutinise and document the condition of furnishings, especially if your new place comes furnished. Kitchen appliances, in particular, deserve your attention, as the insides of microwaves and ovens are easily missed.

When it comes to notes, describe each photo's subject and briefly describe its condition. For example, "Living room walls - Cream. Good condition, marked." Your written descriptions should complement your photographic evidence.

3. Backing Up Your Inventory Report

Whether you're jotting down notes by hand or creating a digital report, safeguard all your records – and don't forget to back them up. When your tenancy concludes, you'll want to perform another inventory check before moving out. Having your initial move-in inventory report on hand will be invaluable.

In summary, a property inventory is a crucial step in the rental process, offering tenants and landlords protection and peace of mind. By following these three simple steps, you can ensure a smooth tenancy experience, leaving no room for disputes down the road. So, embrace your new home, document it thoroughly, and enjoy the journey ahead.

Circa London is a Sales & Lettings agent in central London.  If you are looking to rent property in London, our friendly and knowledgeable team will be delighted to assist you. 

*NB Disclaimer: This information is for guidance purposes only 
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