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Insider insight - what does a really good inventory actually involve?

In this weekend feature, inventory expert and chair of the AIIC, Daniel Evans, sets out what a really good inventory should include. 

Ensuring that tenancies are as successful as possible remains the key priority for letting agents and landlords. 

A really good inventory plays a pivotal role in protecting all parties involved in the tenancy agreement, which is why these should be prioritised. 


In their simplest form, inventories are records about a property that break down the cleanliness and belongings in the home. They also help to display the overall condition and standard of the property before and after it has been let, to help prevent disputes at a later date.

Unfortunately, too many inventories are done in a rushed-through manner. This leaves room for doubts about the original condition of items and the property.

If all inventories followed the same professional process and rigour, this would have a positive impact on the overall performance of the lettings industry and heaps of cash would be saved. 

In addition to this, better knowledge of what a good inventory should involve must be attained by landlords, letting agents and inventory clerks to improve the industry standard as a whole. 

Invest in an independent unbiased inventory 

With inflation and other costs directly impacting people from different walks of life, including landlords and letting agents, it is easy to try and find an inexpensive shortcut.

Inventories that are not carried out by an independent clerk are more likely to be biased and lackadaisical, which will cause issues in the long term. On the other hand, entrusting this process to independent professionals will guarantee the best possible outcome.  

Landlords perhaps looking to save money in the short-term might decide not to use a third party and carry out the inventory themselves. Yet they must be aware of the shortcomings and knowledge gaps of such an approach.

Independent specialists can analyse the property with fresh eyes and record aspects that someone associated with the property is more likely to miss. 

A professional will go into detail and keep your property protected, keeping your funds and house out of harm’s way since they have the experience to carry this out accurately and without any bias. 

Independent clerks are worth the investment as they are trained to a specific standard. They also have the qualifications to back up their expertise. 

Detailed inventories only

The more detailed the inventory, the better role it will play in protecting you from deposit disputes in the future. A good one should include written, photographic and even video evidence to help prove the condition of a home before and after a tenancy. 

Inventories that are inadequately done do not offer the same protection as detailed ones. A detailed inventory displays the household items that were present during the tenancy so that if there is any damage made or items go missing, inventories will prove this. 

An inventory that lacks detail makes it easier for you to be challenged about damage you have not caused or result in you paying for repairs despite you not being the culprit.

Detailed inventories include images and videos as evidence that are time and date stamped.  

In-depth proof of the condition, belongings, and cleanliness will lessen the likelihood of disputes.

If these do arise, a detailed inventory will work in your favour as it will provide concrete evidence. 

Better understanding of what a good inventory really includes, and a greater appreciation of the role that independent inventory clerks play in offering unbiased appraisals of a home, can help improve the sector for all stakeholders as we slowly emerge out of the Covid crisis.

*Daniel Evans is Managing Director at Home Inventories and Chairman of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks. 


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