Find out what an inventory is and how to review one or create your own.

When you’re moving in

On the day you move in to your property you should be given an inventory by the landlord or letting agent.

An inventory details the condition of the property and lists its contents. It will usually include photos as additional evidence.

When you receive your inventory you should go around the property and check that you agree with what has been written. Your contract should state a period of time in which you can make amendments to the inventory.

If you disagree with anything in the inventory, you should make a note of the particular issue and put this in writing to your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible. You should also take your own photos for your records.

You should never have to pay for an inventory.

Taking photographs

You should take photographs before moving your belongings in to the property. This process will usually take up to an hour, but may help save a considerable amount of money at the end of the tenancy.

Begin by taking a photograph from each corner of the room, making sure to include the walls, ceilings, and floors, and then move on to photographing each item listed on the inventory.

Remember to take photographs of the exterior of the property and hallways.

If possible, include a timestamp on the photographs to prove the date that they were taken. You should then label and email these to the landlord or agent, and store a copy for your own records.

Creating your own inventory

Most landlords and letting agents will pay for an independent company to carry out an inventory, although legally, they do not need to do this.

If the landlord or letting agent do not provide an inventory, this may make it more difficult for them to claim deductions from your security deposit. For avoidance of doubt, you may wish to make your own inventory.

An inventory should list the condition of:

  • the walls and ceilings in each room, including any scratches, marks or peeling paint
  • the carpet and flooring throughout the property
  • the decoration and paintwork in the property including skirting boards
  • windows and doors, such as any broken locks or hinges
  • storage areas and cupboards throughout the property 
  • fixtures and fittings including light switches, radiators, and blinds
  • furniture and appliances (if included in the property)
  • the front and back garden.

The inventory should also record whether there are any smoke or carbon monoxide alarms in the property, and also what the gas, electricity and water meter readings are.

Make sure you take photos of the whole property, and include any cracks, marks or scratches or stains. You should hold on to these until you move out of the property in case you are held accountable for any damages that were there before you moved in.

Once you are happy you have recorded everything, sign and date the inventory you have created and send a copy to your landlord or letting agent. Keep a copy for yourself.

During the tenancy you should report any repairs needed to the landlord promptly, preferably in writing, and keep track of when the issue is resolved.

There is some additional information and guidance on checking and agreeing inventory on the Shelter website.

When you’re moving out

On the day you move out your landlord or letting agent should arrange for a clerk to do a check out report. Your agent or landlord will compare the check out report to the inventory, and may use this to inform and evidence deductions from your deposit for damages and cleaning.

You should create your own record of how you left the property, and take photos of the property once empty.

Two common deposit deductions are for the condition of the garden and how clean the property is. In the days leading up to moving out, decide as a household who will clean what and who will take photos of how you left the property.

When cleaning the property, refer to each item listed on the inventory and ensure that it matches the described condition. It is best to remove all personal belongings from the property before you start cleaning.

Don’t forget to dispose of your rubbish correctly, as you may get charged for leaving rubbish bags on the pavement or garden outside of your property. If you have too much to fit in the refuse bins or have items that you cannot dispose of in the refuse, then you should visit the local tip, or donate items to charity. Some local charity shops, such as Shabitat, may offer to collect furniture in good condition for free.

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