How to check and agree an inventory

An accurate inventory could help you avoid disputes over your deposit when you move out.

What is an inventory?

At the start of a tenancy, the landlord or letting agent should draw up an inventory for you that records the condition of the property. Another one should be done when you move out.

It should be easy to understand and say who carried it out and when. 

An inventory:

  • helps prove the state of the property when you moved in
  • can help avoid disputes over the return of your deposit when you move out

It's in your landlord's interest to provide an inventory but it's not a legal requirement.

If they don't provide an inventory or if you think that what's provided is inadequate you could pay an independent inventory clerk to draw one up. 

Check and sign

You'll need to check what's recorded in the inventory before you sign it.

It should provide an overview of the whole property and a list of its contents, with detailed information about the condition of:

  • the walls, ceiling and floor
  • the paintwork
  • carpets and curtains
  • any furniture and appliances
  • fittings such as cupboards
  • windows and doors

The inventory should say whether smoke alarms and any carbon monoxide detectors are provided and working.

The inventory may also contain a record of meter readings.

You can amend the inventory to record anything that's incorrect. For example:

  • add details of anything that's missing
  • note damage that's not been recorded
  • write down if something's not working
  • amend incorrect meter readings

Take photos of any cracks, marks or scratches that aren’t recorded in the inventory.

Only sign and date the inventory when you’re happy it’s accurate. Keep a copy.

Keep records of repairs

You must report repairs to your landlord in writing as soon as possible.

Keep records if you replace something you broke or had something mended (for example because of accidental damage).

Keep copies of correspondence between you and your landlord.

Keep a record of any damage to your belongings or health that results from repairs not being done.

Check your inventory when you move

Try to be there when your landlord or agent does a check out inventory.

You can make sure any disagreements are recorded and provide proof of damage that was there before you moved in.

Sign and date the check out inventory if you're happy it's accurate

Disputes at the end of your tenancy

If you broke or damaged anything in the property while you were living there, your landlord can make deductions from your deposit.

Your landlord shouldn’t make deductions for normal wear and tear, such as worn carpets or faded curtains.

You can dispute unfair deductions from your tenancy deposit. A tenancy deposit protection scheme or court will expect your landlord to provide evidence to support any deductions made.


Last updated 11 Jul 2019 | © Shelter

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