As a landlord in Ireland, there are many steps involved in starting and maintaining a successful tenancy. A lot of these processes come into play when someone new is moving in, and one vital piece of the puzzle is the property inventory.
It may not be required by law, but there are some huge benefits to making sure you have a clear and detailed report completed before a tenancy begins. Here is everything you need to know about property inventories.
What Is A Property Inventory?
A property inventory is a detailed report about the condition of a property and its contents, including everything from the paint on the walls to the inside of the oven. It is a handwritten or typed document that is usually accompanied by photos to provide visual evidence of any marks, dirt or damage.
Once a property inventory has been carried out, a copy is given to both the landlord and the tenant to sign. Another property inventory is completed at the end of the tenancy and compared to the original report, noting any changes to the property’s condition.
Why Do I Need One?
There is no legal obligation for landlords in Ireland to provide a property inventory. However, inventories are an invaluable part of the lettings process, as they provide clear written and visual evidence about the condition of a property and its contents before a tenancy begins. Armed with this information, if any disputes come up regarding damage to the home this information can be used to quickly and efficiently resolve the issue. If the damage falls outside of normal wear and tear, the property inventory can be used as grounds to deduct some of the security deposit.
Without one, any problems will boil down to a case of your word against your tenants’, which can result in a lengthy and costly process to reach a resolution. Having a property inventory is beneficial for both parties and will encourage a good business arrangement between you from the outset.
To find out more, head over to our blog post, Everything You Need To Know About Security Deposits. You may also want to read our guide to Irish landlord insurance.
Who Carries Out The Property Inventory?
You have several options available to you for carrying out a property inventory. You can do it yourself, use the services of an inventory clerk or have it done by your letting agent or property management company. Bear in mind that if you don’t arrange for a property inventory, your tenant is within their rights to do one themselves, though it will need your signature to validate it.
If you would like to carry out the property inventory yourself, you can find a sample on the RTB website that you can use to create your own report. However, there are plenty of benefits to using professional inventory services. If you are using a letting agent or property management company, inventories will usually be part of the package, so be sure to find out if they carry them out in house or outsource to an inventory clerk.
Why Outsource Property Inventories?
Inventory clerks are specially trained to provide clear and thorough reports. This means that you don’t run the risk of forgetting any important details or not giving enough information. These days, they also tend to use specialist online software that covers all the bases and ensures that all the details are easy to access and read. If you let out multiple properties, it also means that you will have a consistently high standard of reporting.
When carried out by a third party, property inventories stand up against any claims of bias. This can be hugely beneficial should any disputes arise, as there is no question that the report is 100% impartial. If you do your own inventory, it may be hard to know how to rate the cleanliness or condition of certain aspects of the property. An inventory clerk has done this hundreds of times before and will be able to instantly identify the condition of any aspect of the home.
Inventory services tend to be inexpensive and are a great way to save time and lessen your workload as a landlord in Ireland. If you decide to manage your tenancies without the help of an agent, this is definitely one area you might want to consider outsourcing.
How Much Do Property Inventories Cost?
As mentioned above, if you are working with a letting agent or property management company, the inventory should be included in their service fees. When finding an inventory clerk yourself, prices will vary from business to business and may also depend on the size of your property. However, you can expect to pay at least €60.
Third party inventory companies tend to also offer interim inspections, which you might like to take advantage of. This is where they will visit the property (usually once every quarter or every 6 months) to check that it is being kept to a reasonable standard. This process is less in-depth than the initial inventory report, but is more of a basic check to see if any repairs or maintenance is needed. It’s also a way to make sure there is no unauthorised occupation or things like pets and smoking indoors (if these things have been prohibited in the tenancy agreement).
You can carry out interim inspections yourself if you prefer, but whichever route you choose you must always get your tenants’ permission and arrange a time for you or the clerk to be there. Interim checks will usually be cheaper than full inventory reports, and you can expect to pay around €40.
How Is A Property Inventory Completed?
Once any repairs, cleaning and maintenance work following the previous tenancy has been carried out, the inventory clerk will access the property (there is no need for you to be there). Working from a standardised list, the clerk will go from room to room noting the condition and/or cleanliness of the decor, fixtures and fittings.
For the condition, this will usually include short notes such as light scuffs and chips or discoloured in places. For cleanliness, this is usually noted on a scale e.g. not clean, some further cleaning required, clean, professionally cleaned. When it comes to appliances, fixtures and fittings, the clerk will also note whether they are working properly.
The time it takes will vary depending on who is completing it, but you can expect a 2 to 3 bedroom property to take around 3 hours. The report will then be typed up and sent to both you and the tenant to sign.
Despite being a small and inexpensive part of the lettings process, property inventories can be hugely beneficial in protecting your investment. Enlisting an experienced property management company is a great way to make sure that not only are your inventories carried out to the highest standards, but that you have sound advice and assistance every step of the way.
At SCK Property, we offer a range of services covering everything from finding a tenant to full rental account preparation (with your tax return thrown in for free!). If you’d like to find out more, we’d love to hear from you. Simply give us a call on (01) 291 0800 or fill in our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.