By Jo Eccles
I wonder how many of you reading this are renting and if so, how many had a professional check-in report carried out at the start of your tenancy.
A lot of landlords who manage their own properties often write up an inventory and check-in report themselves, or don’t have one carried out at all. Unfortunately, a lot of tenants don’t know to insist on one. If your landlord suggests carrying out a check-in report themselves, or that you do it together, be wary. Although it may save you money not having one drawn up, if there is a dispute at the end of your tenancy and there are no independent reports, it will be very difficult to argue your word against the landlord’s, which could prove costly.
A property’s inventory should provide a detailed list of furniture, fixtures and fittings. A check-in report is carried out at the beginning of each tenancy and cross references the inventory, creating a report specific to your particular tenancy, noting the condition of furniture and fittings, and sets the standard at which the property should be maintained and returned at the end of the tenancy. Meter readings are also recorded, and the more thorough reports usually include photographs to avoid any ambiguity.
At the end of a tenancy, a check-out report is carried out. Any changes to the property during the tenancy are noted and the report makes comment on whether the changes are considered to be damage (in which case the tenant should pay for the repair) or genuine wear and tear, in which case, there should be no cost to the tenant.
These reports should always be carried out by an independent inventory clerk who is experienced at noticing small detail but who will also be completely impartial, which is important because they form the basis of whether you will have any deductions taken from your deposit.
Usually, it is common practice that the landlord pays for the check-in and the tenant pays for the check-out, or vice versa. This should always be confirmed in your tenancy agreement so make sure you check.
If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @joeccles.