How to check and agree an inventory

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 your and your landlord's interest to provide and check an inventory.

Find out about tenancy deposit deductions.

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.

Agree an inventory

Your landlord or letting agent should supply you with an inventory when you move in. Ask them about a written inventory if they don't provide one. 

Use Shelter's sample inventory form to record the contents and condition of the property 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.

Take photos of the property (especially any existing damage) when you move in.

You could use an independent inventory clerk to draw up the inventory for you. These are private companies that charge you for their service. Using one could help if there is a dispute between you and your landlord at the end of the tenancy.

Check your inventory before signing

Check the inventory carefully before you sign it. Check 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

Note down anything wrong with the property or with the fixtures and fittings. Make a note of any damage that isn't listed. This is to make sure you don't get charged for something that was damaged when you moved in. You can also take photos showing the condition of 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.

Find out more about tenancy deposit deductions your landlord can make.

Find out more about reporting repairs to a private landlord.

Video: Making an inventory

Last updated 09 Oct 2014 | © Shelter

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