Inventories: A Tenants’ Guide

2nd March 2020

Inventories – officially known as an Inventory and Schedule of Condition – are designed to give peace of mind to both landlords and tenants. They record each property’s contents and condition at the start of a tenancy, so any disputes over damage should be avoided when the tenant leaves.

Responsible letting agents insist on a detailed, written Inventory and Schedule of Condition for both furnished and unfurnished properties. At Letters, we note the presence and condition of all fixtures and fittings as well as y furniture. Tenants are encouraged to double-check the inventory when they arrive at their new home.  They then have a few days to note any amendments or observations and return the signed document to the office.

When you move in

As a new tenant you should take the time to walk through every room, noting the decor, carpets, furniture and fittings. If you can, take clear, date-stamped pictures of anything you think is inconsistent with the inventory provided and share these with the agent.

Look for things like:

  • Warped, sticking or broken doors on cupboards, doors and wardrobes
  • Rips in furniture fabric; stains, scratches or chips on furniture
  • Holes or rips in floor coverings
  • Stains, scuffs or dents in walls
  • Holes or rips in the curtains
  • Cracks in the sinks, basins, baths, toilets; cracked or chipped tiles
  • Items that are dirty


If you spot anything you think needs repairing, now’s the time to bring it up with your letting agent or landlord.

Don’t be afraid to make amendments to the inventory. If something’s missing or, equally important, there’s an item present that’s not noted on the inventory, make sure you note this to avoid inconsistencies when you leave.

Only sign the inventory when you’re happy with it.

During the tenancy

Responsible letting agents and landlords understand that accidental damage happens and recognise general wear and tear. Please let them know as soon as any damage or maintenance issues occur so they can get it repaired as soon as possible. Keep a note of any correspondence in case of dispute.

At Letters, our tenants can use our 24/7 online reporting system to ensure any maintenance issues are reported and contractors can act quickly to put things right. We make a note of any problems and repairs in your tenancy records so there are no unpleasant surprises at the end of the tenancy.

We also carry out mid-tenancy inspections by arrangement, to ensure properties are well-maintained and to assess whether any repairs need to be made. This is a great opportunity for tenants to point out any issues and highlight any repairs they think should be carried out.

When you move out

After you have moved out the letting agent or landlord will visit the property to check it against the original inventory you signed when you moved in. If you can be there for this, it’s often easier to resolve any issues there and then. They must take into account general wear and tear. Again, take date-stamped photos of anything you think may cause problems. In the vast majority of cases, if you’ve kept the letting agent or landlord well-informed throughout your tenancy, there should be no unpleasant surprises.

Remember, cleaning is not fair wear and tear. A property should be left with no visible sign of occupation with regards cleanliness!


What if you dispute any charges connected with the inventory?

Occasionally, deductions are taken out of tenants’ deposits to cover the cost of a repair which is not down to general wear and tear. If you disagree with this, gather your original inventory and the checkout report along with records of any reports you made to the letting agent/landlord, plus receipts if you had repairs carried out. If the issue can’t be resolved, contact the deposit protection scheme which held your deposit for help resolving the issue.

Any questions? Contact us.

If you have any further questions, please see our landlord’s or tenants’ FAQs page, or contact us.

Read about how one pop star’s rental damage dispute proved costly here.