When you’re a landlord, you’re often entrusting your most precious asset (your home) to a complete stranger. Even if you know the person well, you can’t always rely on them to look after your house to the standards you’d expect- So how do you protect yourself if the worst happens and they leave the property in a less than acceptable condition?
According to Assetgrove, it all comes down to having a great inventory; a simple document which could end up saving you thousands in the long run. “People often think that anyone can make a property inventory. In reality, it’s a very specific skill that requires knowledge, experience and meticulous attention to detail.”
Without a thorough record of the condition of the property at the start of a tenancy, landlords have very little protection if something goes wrong. Taking the time to conduct a comprehensive inventory can protect you legally in the case of any disputes, and can mean the difference between successful buying to let and financial ruin. Little mistakes and omissions which can seem insignificant can cost you dearly, as well as potentially damaging your reputation as a landlord.
Quite simply, a thorough inventory is one thing you can’t afford to scrimp on.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme has its benefits but some complain that it’s moved the power away from landlords and into the hands of less trustworthy tenants, so it’s essential to undertake thorough check-ins and check-outs.
A good inventory will meticulously detail every mark, every scratch and every piece of equipment before the tenant moves in and then again when they move out, making sure everything is fully documented and leaving you free from deposit disputes.
Thorough property inventories are not five minute, in and out jobs. According to Andrew Reeves “If you do it properly, you’ll be in the average three bedroom property for around an hour and then you’ll need to prepare all the relevant reports and evidence afterwards.” This is clearly not a quick job, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you can cut corners.
Your inventory will need to cover everything from the slightest scratch on the paintwork to dents in woodwork, as well as clearly listing every item in the property along with its current working order. This should all be backed up with photographic evidence and a copy of the inventory must be signed by both parties. It may seem like a drag, but if you end up in court without having taken these precautions, you’ll wish you had.
If you’re already busy, that’s a lot of time out of your day and can leave you bogged down in paperwork and not having enough time to get on with all your other essential daily tasks. M&M Property concludes; “Using a professional property inventory service will not only give you the benefit of professional advice and experience and save you money, it will also free up your time to get on with everything else you need to focus on.”
This article was provided to us by Property Division who are London’s Property News Hub and a great source of valuable advice!