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There is more than one type of Inventory, in fact, there are three main types, property inventories, insurance/home inventories (very big in USA) and business inventories that track materials and stock.
I want to discuss only one type here, which can be used for a secondary purpose.
It is an inventory of a property to be rented, which can also be used as an insurance inventory in certain cases.
Normal use of a residential property inventory report is to protect the landlords property and tenants deposit. Before the tenant is due to occupy the rented property, the property owner or letting agent arranges for an inventory clerks to visit his property. The inventory clerk inspects the property and prepares an inventory report, which gives a detailed description and statement on the condition of all the features and items of the property, this includes ceiling, doors, wall, floors, all types of furniture, electrical fittings, curtains, etc. It should also include photographs embedded in the report as support for inventory clerk’s statements.
An additional benefit is to reduce time and effort spent with repair and maintenance issues.
White Goods, you would normally want serial numbers included in your report as this is the easiest way to identify the particular item in the property. Serial numbers are not always included in a report; this can be for three reasons:-
the inventory clerks does not go into that much detail, which is normally reflected in the price of their service,
the information is not obtainable due to the location of the label on the item which means it cannot be seen,
the label has become worn away or damaged.
With a detailed report, if there is a maintenance issue, it makes it easier for landlords and agents to identify an item when arranging for a service or repair by reducing the necessity of having to visit the property to get the information need by technicians or when ordering spare parts.
Secondary use is to assist in insurance claims. For example, if a tenant floods the bathroom and it damages the floor and ceiling and the furniture in the lounge. Then a detailed report with photos can be given to the insurance provider as proof of the items and their condition. You will still have to provide dates and receipts of purchase items, etc. but I am sure you can see how the task of explaining and describing items in your claim are greatly reduced and provides the insurer with some peace of mind at to the validity of the claim.
I want to make it clear, that in some cases when you need a inventory report for insurance purposes, the information you should provide can be different and more detailed for example jewellery you might have a gold ring, you would need to describe its carat, weight, when, where and from whom it was purchased. This information is not normally included in a property inventory report (the term “property” referring to real estate and not ownership).
An inventory report on a residential property should be detailed but easy to read. However, an insurance report should be more detailed, would possibly take 3 times as long to produce making them much more expensive.
You can produce your own report, but one key aspect is credibility, another is ensuring that you have described the item and its condition in the right way and you need to realise that for non-professionals producing a report takes time a lot of it. My advice is if you can afford it, it is usually best to use the inventory services of a professional independent inventory specialist.
Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-
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