The property inventory is exactly what it sounds like: a document that lists all of the assets in a property, as well as their condition at the time the inventory is conducted. For rental properties, this type of inventory is conducted prior to the new tenant moving in and again at the time they move out.
It used to be that property inventories were paper documents with handwritten descriptions of each item sent for the tenant to sign. These days, IPM makes the most of new technology that allows us to create photographic inventories. In doing so, this offers a more streamlined, digital, way to create a record of the condition that the property – and its contents.
All accessible via a phone, computer or tablet, the Tenant is sent a digital inventory for the property shortly after move-in. They can then access this remotely to approve the inventory as it stands, or they can choose to supplement it with their own photos and notes.
There is general agreement that the most important part of the property inventory is the Schedule of Condition or SoC. The SoC is a detailed accounting of the state of each feature at the time of the inventory. So, if there are wooden floors and they are heavily scratched it should indicate that on the SoC. Likewise, if there are dents in the refrigerator door, they should be indicated on the SoC.
As well as being super simple to use, using a modern photographic inventory offers a much more reliable way to record the condition of each item or area in the home – and, in turn, provides an invaluable resource to look back on over time.
Having what amounts to “before” and “after” snapshots of the property reduces the risk of conflict between tenant and landlord. It also facilitates a smooth transition out for the departing tenant who no doubt already has enough on their mind, and speeds up the deposit reclaim process.
By setting the benchmark from day one it manages everyone’s expectations, so it’s crucial that both parties examine the inventory/SoC in detail to ensure that there is no doubt about its accuracy.
It’s worth noting that, for tenants, making notes on an inventory is not the same as making a repair request. An inventory is just a record of condition that will go on to be archived. So, if you spot something in your property that needs remedying, you’ll need to address this separately with your agent or landlord. For IPM Tenants, you can log any repair requests on our 24/7 online maintenance portal.
Does the Landlord Conduct the Property Inventory?
In some cases, yes. In other cases, however, they will pass this responsibility on to a letting agent, or less frequently, to an independent inventory clerk.
Does Every Rental Property Require a Property Inventory?
In some cases, a homeowner who is simply looking to let one floor, or even one room, in their home may not insist on a property inventory. It’s up to them. But when it comes to commercial landlords who own property specifically for the purpose of letting it out there will always be a property inventory performed. Practically speaking, in addition to reporting on the condition of the asset, doing an inventory is also a good time to inspect the property to ensure it’s all up to scratch and meeting all compliance obligations.
What if I Don’t Sign the Inventory?
There is usually a time limit to respond to an inventory, for properties managed by IPM this is 7 days. If a property inventory is presented to you and you believe there are errors, you can highlight any discrepancies on the inventory itself. If, however, you simply don’t feel like signing the inventory, it is assumed that the condition is as stated, so it’s really important to make the time to go through it.