If you’re new to renting out property in Scotland, organising your inventory should be high on your to-do list. Many property experts regard the property inventory as up there with the tenancy agreement as one of a landlord’s most important documents, and with good reason. Without a comprehensive property inventory, you might struggle to prove your case if there’s an end-of-tenancy dispute.
There are plenty of landlord inventory templates to download online – or you might choose to appoint your letting agent or a specialist company to do the work for you. Before you start, we answer the questions landlords often ask about drawing up an inventory and checking tenants in and out.
What is a rental property inventory?
An inventory is an extensive and comprehensive list of all the fittings, fixtures, furnishings and appliances that you have provided in the rental property. Crucially it also contains details the condition of every item at check in – also known as a schedule of condition. You will need to create a written report for your property inventory including photographs and videos of everything.
Do I need a property inventory if the property is unfurnished?
Yes, it is equally important to document unfurnished rentals, recording the condition of the doors, windows, appliances, cupboards, bathrooms, gardens and sheds. Include the colour of the walls (in case your tenant decides to repaint during the tenancy) as well as the condition of carpets, floor coverings and curtains.
Where can I get landlord inventory template?
You can easily find ready-made templates online, by googling ‘landlord inventory template’. Or create your own landlord inventory template in a basic table or spreadsheet. Once you have found one you like, personalise it to your property with a list of every item and its condition, backed up with clear photographs, taken in good light.
What else do I need to do?
As well as the inventory and condition report, you’ll need a check-in procedure to make sure your tenant signs to accept that everything is present and as described. Arrange the check-in with your tenant in person so you can go through it with them before they sign. Keep the signed inventory in a safe place with your other documentation as you’ll need it for checking out your tenant and if any disputes arise.
What about any issues?
It is best to flag any existing damage in your report. Include details of stains, scrapes or dents in your inventory, backed up with photographs. Also, add positive details, such as where items are brand new.
Do I have to have an inventory, legally?
No, but having one really is in your best interests to avoid a dispute later on. It is mandatory, however, to protect any deposit your tenant gives you in a Scottish government-approved tenancy deposit scheme. You should register the deposit within 30 days of the start of the tenancy and tell your tenant which scheme you are using.
What about paid-for inventory services?
If you’re new to renting out property, this may save you time and effort, however, it will mean additional costs. A professional service, whether your letting agent or a specialist company, will be experienced in writing inventories and less likely to miss anything. They may use software designed for inventories, which would be costly for you to purchase alone. Using a third party also puts a distance between you and your tenant if a dispute arises.
At what point should I compile my inventory?
Create your inventory as soon as the property is decorated for tenants and with all appliances and furniture in place. But you must have it ready for your tenant to sign before they move in with their own belongings. To support deposit deductions, an inventory should be dated about a week prior to the start of any tenancy to which it relates.
Do I need to inspect the property once they’ve moved in?
Yes, schedule inspections to check that the home is being cared for and to learn about any issues from your tenant every three to six months. Remember, you must give 24 hours’ written notice before any visit, and it must be done at a reasonable time of day. Tenants may refuse an inspection.
What is the difference between damage and wear and tear?
Wear and tear means the normal impact of day-to-day living, such as worn carpets, scuff marks on walls etc. Damage goes beyond this and means something the tenant has caused by carelessness or neglect – a broken window or red wine stain on a carpet, for example.
What if my tenant causes damage?
You can charge your tenant for damage, which can’t be put down to fair wear and tear. Get an estimate for the repair and pass a copy to the tenant. You should agree together whether you will invoice your tenant now or take the amount from their tenancy deposit. If you decide to use the deposit, you should inform the tenancy deposit scheme.
What do I need to do when the tenant moves out?
Arrange a check out meeting on the day they leave with the tenant present, but once all their belongings have been removed from the property. Have a copy of the inventory to hand and check the condition of the property now against everything listed.
If you’re a new buy-to-let landlord with property in Glasgow, we would be happy to advise you about the many issues you’ll come across when renting out property. Contact us today to discuss the services we offer.