When you move into your new home, check and agree a detailed inventory with your landlord. This can help with any disputes when you move out and could help you get your tenancy deposit back.
What is an inventory?
An inventory is a list of everything that your landlord provides with the property you rent, for example furniture, carpets, curtains and appliances. It could also include kitchenware.
An inventory should record the condition everything is in, especially anything that was already damaged, marked or worn before you moved in.
It is useful to take photographs when you check the inventory.
An inventory can help avoid disputes
An inventory can help avoid a dispute over your tenancy deposit when you move out because it proves what state the property was in when you moved in. It's in you and your landlord's interest to provide and check an inventory.
If you break or damage anything while you are living there, the inventory shows that it wasn't broken before you moved in.
If anything in the property is already damaged, the inventory can prove that you didn't do it.
Agreeing an inventory
Your landlord or the landlord's letting agent should supply you with an inventory. Ask for one if they haven't done so.
You can make an inventory yourself if your landlord or agent won't provide one. Ask an independent witness (for example, someone who doesn't live in the property) to sign it. You should then send a copy to the landlord.
Use Shelter's sample inventory form when you move into a new home.
It also helps if you take photos of the property (especially any existing damage) when you first move in.
You could consider employing an independent inventory clerk to make the inventory for you. These are private companies that charge you for their service, but using one may help if there is a dispute between you and your landlord at the end of the tenancy.
Check an inventory before signing
Before you sign the inventory, check it carefully and make a note of any damage that isn't listed. Make sure that:
- everything in the property is included on the inventory
- there is nothing listed on the inventory that you can't find in the property
Once you are happy that the inventory is correct, make sure that both you and the landlord (or landlord's agent) or an independent witness sign it. Keep a copy in a safe place.
Keep records in case of tenancy deposit disputes
Keep records of anything you've damaged or replaced, or of any repair work done by your landlord. If there's a dispute at the end of the tenancy your records could make a big difference.
Useful items might include:
- photographs you took when you moved in
- receipts for items you have replaced
- receipts or estimates for repairs done to the property
- receipts for rent payments
- receipts for bills (especially final bills) for services at the property (for example gas, electricity, water)
You should also keep copies of any letters you send to your landlord and any replies you have received.
Read more about deductions your landlord can make from your tenancy deposit.