Do you need an Inventory on an Unfurnished Let?

Throughout the private rental sector, there remains confusion as to whether unfurnished properties require an Inventory or whether it is just an unnecessary expense.

After looking at a number of forums with posts from landlords and tenants, regarding unfurnished property inventories and it was clear to see that there is quite a lot of confusion about what an Inventory actually is – with some believing that it is simply a list of items and that the actual ‘fabric’ of the property is not included, such as:

  •  Walls
  • Floor coverings
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Locks
  • Kitchen units and worktops
  • Bathroom fittings
  • Electrical sockets
  • Smoke detectors
  • Garden and parking areas

Here at Hayfield Robinson we believe a detailed inventory is essential on all types of letting and should include both the content and ‘fabric’ of the property and also provide a schedule of condition.  This means that even if a property does not contain white goods and is literally as unfurnished as it could possibly be, providing an Inventory has been agreed by the tenants at the outset, a landlord will be able to make fair deductions from a deposit if there is cause to repair, replace, redecorate or clean any items.

Failing to produce an Inventory could severely leave a landlord out of pocket – take for instance this scenario…..

A property which was completely redecorated with all of the walls painted a neutral magnolia colour is rented to tenants without an Inventory being prepared.  During the course of their tenancy, the tenants decide that they are fed up with the neutral pallet of the property and paint every single wall a luminous pink!  On the day that the tenants vacate, the landlord visits the property and is outraged that the tenants have re-painted the property in shocking pink and immediately seeks to deduct monies from their deposit to repaint the walls back to the neutral tone.  Knowing that there was no Inventory to evidence the colour of the walls in the first instance, the tenants dispute the deductions and the case is sent to arbitration.  Of course, the arbitrator’s award in the favour of the tenants as there is nothing to prove the landlords claims.  The cost of redecorating the property therefore has to be funded by the landlord so the lack of Inventory proves to be an expensive mistake!

Of course having an Inventory in place doesn’t prevent a tenant from deciding to re-decorate the whole property in the brightest shade of pink imaginable (or any other colour), but what it can do, is reaffirm to them the clauses in their Tenancy Agreement to seek permission before redecorating and more importantly it provides clear, undisputable evidence as to the colour of the walls at the time that the tenant moved into the property.  Quite simply it is crucial to have a detailed Inventory regardless as to whether a property is furnished or not.

HR L&M Ltd include an inventory and photographic schedule of condition in both our Let Only and Management Services and unlike the majority of other agents this does not attract an additional charge to either the landlord or tenant.  For more details on this or any other of our services please feel free to contact us.