It’s been a long, frosty week, and it’s starting to show as I haven’t been this unshaven in a while. I’m still representing my swag though. Holla.
I’ve had a tenant vacate, which left me with 5 days to turn around the property so it looks presentable for my new tenant. During the cafuffle, I managed to learn an extremely important lesson about Landlording- inventories are imperative. I always knew they were important, but until now, I didn’t realise how important and useful they are.
Remember that song by Baz Lurhman, Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)? Basically, it’s about how he has loads of advice to give based on his own experience, but there’s one thing he found to be true, regardless of what you’ve been through and experienced, that is to wear sunscreen. I’m saying the same thing to landlords, “Everybody’s free (to do an inventory)”
What is an inventory?
The Inventory is a listing of all the contents of a property and a record of the condition of each item. It’s also referred to as a “schedule of condition”. The form is designed to help monitor the condition of the items before a tenant moves in and just before a tenant leaves, so it can be made clear what damages, if any, need to be paid for.
More details: Rental Inventory Form
This is what happened
My ex-tenant moved out after 4 years of tenancy, consequently I was due to perform a thorough inspection to make sure everything was in working order. After 4 years, I expected a lot of wear and tear, especially since she had 2 rascal snot-faced children running around like Batman and Robin. I actually wasn’t going to be fussy; small blunders like spills on the carpet and splattered shit on the walls wasn’t going to shake me. I was looking out for holes in the walls and cracked windows, basically repairs that could potentially put a serious hole in my pocket and shorten my lifespan.
Unfortunately, my problem was that I forgot what condition everything was in when she initially moved in. Fortunately, I had done an inventory when the tenant had moved in. I didn’t even remember doing it, but found it amongst the fuss of trying to find a blank tenancy agreement for my new tenant.
As I was scouring around the property, looking for the residue of children, I noticed that the front door was completely busted. But it wasn’t obvious; it was only when I opened the door and looked at the chubb lock that I realised there was a huge split, from the lock (middle of the door) to the top of the door. Additionally, directly above the lock, there was a huge hollow gap where it should have been solid wood. It’s quite difficult to explain, but basically, the door needed replacing. I even got a carpenter around to see if it could be resurrected by a Viagra pill, or something. He just laughed and said, “Good luck, son”
Replacing wooden front doors are expensive, that’s for sure. And since the door was perfectly fine when my tenant moved in, she was liable to pay for it out of her security deposit. But because the nature of the fixture was quite expensive, I didn’t expect it to go down well with my tenant. Potentially, it could cost about £300 to replace (so I’m told).
In the inventory form, next to the “front door” column, there’s a tick under the “excellent” condition heading. What a life saver.
Taking it to the next level
Here, you can download a sample inventory form for free. But some times a simple checklist isn’t good enough for a lot of Landlords, especially Landlords with experience. I know that a lot of Landlords take pictures of the property with the tenant, so there’s solid proof of the condition of the property. I never used to take pictures but for the past year I’ve been doing it. It maybe a bit extreme, but it could honestly save you a lot of money and disputes. You don’t need to go crazy and take pictures of every nook and cranny; just take pictures of each room and the expensive items E.g. doors, windows and kitchen/bathroom fittings. This doesn’t just protect landlords, but tenants, too.
Have you ever relied on an inventory form to cross reference the condition of your property, from before and after a tenant left? Love to hear your story, chaps and chapettes!