Unfurnished properties still need an inventory

by Sarah Ashcroft

An inventory is the biggest protection a landlord can have against any damage caused by a tenant.

However, many private landlords may think that because a property is unfurnished the need for an inventory is lessened.

While it is true that without furniture or white goods in a house there is physically less to be damaged or destroyed, however tenants can still be destructive in an empty house.

This is not always caused by maliciousness. Tenants could paint each wall in the house a different colour because it creates a d├ęcor more to their taste.

But if there is no inventory, landlords have no proof that the walls were magnolia to start with, meaning that they have to pay for the paint out of their own pocket rather than take the money from the deposit.

Similarly, flooring such as carpets can get stained and need replacing, while wooden or laminate floors can be subject to heel indentations and scratches.

An inventory is often the only document landlords have at their disposal when it comes to withholding money from the deposit for replacements, repairs and cleaning.

However it also protects tenants from unscrupulous landlords who deduct money for damages they were not responsible for.

Even in an unfurnished property, a thorough inventory could run into several pages, as it is important to note every scratch, scuff and mark.

It is also vital to document the working condition and cleanliness of white goods, including the fridge, freezer, oven and washing machine. Replacing these items can be incredibly costly.

Similarly, look at the state of windows and doors, light fittings and bathrooms. If a bathroom is not cleaned for several months, the lime scale build-up can be significant so it is worth highlighting this.

Before carrying out an inventory, it is often best to ensure the house is professionally cleaned and that paint work is freshened up so that this process is less arduous and you can be more sure that any damage is new.

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Published on: July 27, 2012

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