3 Ways to Prepare a Property Inventory for an Independent Letting Agent
Rental growth has accelerated in the last decade and it is forecast to remain steady over the next five years. This represents a jewel of an opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to become involved in the property industry by training as an independent letting agent. A good local letting business offers a valuable service to their community acting as an expert link between landlords and tenants.
One of the most important and sometimes forgotten tasks of a letting agent is producing an inventory report on behalf of the landlord and for the benefit of both landlord and tenant. An inventory is a document prepared with a list of all the contents of the property and their condition at the time the tenant checks in at the rented property. The purpose of the inventory is to have a clear agreed initial overview of the property and its contents and it will act as a base for comparison at the end of the assured shorthold tenancy contract.
Speedy and Orderly End of Tenancy Process
A clear and carefully prepared inventory is essential for a speedy and orderly end of tenancy process, and it is of paramount importance to avoid any disputes or disagreements between the landlord and tenant. An inventory constitutes an integral part of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme regulations and any differences will be resolved on the bases of this document. The importance of a well written check-in and check-out report cannot be underestimated for practical and legal reasons. Two identical copies will be co-signed by the tenant and the agent on behalf of the landlord.
As a new letting agent you have 3 options to prepare your inventories:
Option 1 - Carry out the inventory work yourself using our templates
Option 2 - Instruct an experienced inventory clerk to do the work for you
Option 3 - Use pre-existing inventory software to stay organised and save time
Option 1 - The do it yourself option clearly can save some initial cost and it is viable and thoroughly possible with the use of available pre-prepared inventory forms and carefully prepared portfolio with relevant photos. You can charge the landlord for this service and include it in your fee structure as you see fit (not for tenants!). Our comprehensive Letting and Estate Business Package gives sound advice, templates and software on how to set up this report.
Option 2 - You can employ an inventory clerk who will be experienced in anticipating possible deterioration to any of the elements in your inventory list. An inventory clerk will save you time because they will know which parts of the property are more likely to deteriorate or which aspects of the property can be problematic. Therefore they will know to pay more attention to these when describing their condition at the tenant check-in time. An inventory clerk will know when the use of photos or video footage is advisable.
Option 3 - Inventory software can be a great time-saver and there are fantastic companies who offer free trial demos for your convenience. You can check software companies such as InventoryHive, InventoryBase or SmarterInventories depending on your budget and needs. One of the great advantages of cloud-base inventory systems is that you can write the report on the spot with facilities such as 360 camera integration and paperless approval cycles. This includes other facilities like electronic signatures which instantly trigger the handover of keys to the tenant. Also, you can create a report from scratch or use one of their templates and access them at your desk or on your mobile device on the go.
Both tenants and landlords will be grateful for a professionally and unbiased written ‘Schedule of Condition’ of their rental home and this will help to achieve a smooth end of tenancy process. Landlords will understand that a well prepared inventory can save them hefty repair expenses when a tenant moves out. Only a small percentage of landlords still believe that an inventory is not necessary. This cannot be further from the truth and at Southcourt we will advise you as a new start-up or existing letting agent to make sure you are well prepared for the growing and very busy UK lettings market.
Call us today on 0203 397 0070 to see how we can help.