What’s An Inventory Check Out?

Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, you will most definitely come across the terms inventory check-in and inventory check-out. These processes are an essential part of renting out a property and, when done correctly, are a benefit and reassurance to both tenant and landlord.

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This short article explains what these terms refer to, what these processes involve, and why they are helpful.

What is an inventory check-in and check out?

An inventory check-in is a process carried out for a new tenant when they move into the property. While a check out inventory is completed when a tenant leaves the property.

The inventory check-in is a complete schedule of the condition of all items within the property, ranging from structural fixtures (walls & ceilings etc.) to any provided furnishings.

All aspects of the property’s condition are rated on a scale of very poor to very good. The check-in is completed at the start of the tenancy and re-assessed when the tenancy comes to an end.

This serves as a benchmark of the property’s condition and, once approved, should be signed by both the landlord and tenant.

The check-in inventory also includes key information about the property, such as the date of the gas safety & electrical safety certificates, current metre readings, and the number of keys supplied.

The check out inventory is completed when a tenant leaves the property to evaluate any change in the condition of the previously listed inventory items. Once complete, any damages are taken into account, and the landlord decides whether a deduction should be made to the tenant’s deposit.

Who conducts inventory check-ins and check-outs?

A property inventory can be conducted by either:

  • The landlord; or
  • The assigned letting agent; or
  • Another professional third party on behalf of the landlord.

The creation is simple, and several templates exist online for free that can be used.

If you’re a member of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), they offer these documents as part of their membership to all members.

For landlords who aren’t local to their rental properties, conducting an inventory may not be convenient. Additionally, some may feel that the pressures of creating and completing an adequate inventory are too great, as the consequences of making a mistake could impact a landlord’s ability to recover a tenant’s deposit in the event of any damages.

Therefore, it may be more convenient and safer to use an experienced letting agent or assign a professional third party, like Mashroom,  to conduct the inventory on behalf of the landlord. 

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Why should landlords have a check-in and check-out?

Although inventory check-ins and check-outs are not required by law, landlords risk being unable to make deductions to the tenant’s deposit at the end of the tenancy if any damage has occurred.

This is due to there being no evidence to compare the condition of the damaged item before and after the tenant has lived in the property.

The tenancy deposit scheme provider will hold the deposit independently and require evidence to be provided by a landlord as to why a deduction should be made to a tenant’s deposit.

Therefore, it would be a landlord’s word against a tenant’s in the absence of a thorough inventory. Without any hard evidence, the deposit scheme provider would be obliged to return the full deposit to the tenant as it is their legal property.

This would leave a landlord out of pocket and with no recourse to make any claim from the tenants. For more information on the adjudication process and what to do if damage has occurred throughout the tenancy period, check out our article on the Check Out Inventory Dispute Process.

We highly recommend that all landlords ensure they perform an accurate property inventory, as the risks of not doing so far outweigh the benefits.

This is why it is in the landlord’s best interest to have a thorough inventory conducted at the start and end of the tenancy.

Should landlords do an inventory themselves?

As previously highlighted, landlords can perform inventory checks themselves. However, if it is inconvenient or they want to make sure that the process is done correctly, landlord’s can hire a third party. Many landlords often choose the latter option, as the benefits of having one conducted professionally outweigh the risks of making a mistake.

How to book a check-in and check-out inventory

If a landlord is booking directly with the tenant, an agreed time and date should be scheduled within 30 days of the tenancy commencing or just before the tenant vacates the property. Once complete, the inventory should be signed and dated by both the landlord and tenant to confirm both parties are in agreement.

The same applies if a professional third party or letting agent conducts all of this on behalf of a landlord.

Mashroom makes this really simple for landlords. Simply click here to find out how Mashroom can help with the inventory, as well as the check-in and check-out processes.

All you need to do is purchase the product, schedule a preferred time for Mashroom to visit the property to perform the work, and wait for your bespoke report to arrive. It’s that simple.

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