A landlord has a lot to do at the start of a tenancy, and it can be tempting to treat the inventory as just one more tick in a box. If you’re lucky enough to have a model tenant, that might be enough — but any problem during the tenancy can make a full and detailed inventory crucial. And that can include the need for photo and video evidence.
Why Are Photos and Videos Necessary for an Inventory?
If a dispute should arise during at the end of a tenancy, it may be vital to have a record not only of what items were in the property at the start, but also the condition they were in.
Suppose, for example, you have nearly new carpets in the property that are in good condition, and three years later they’re stained and have threadbare patches. You would obviously make a claim against the tenant to cover this, either out of the deposit or for extra, but if the tenant claimed the carpets were in that condition to begin with, how would you disprove it?
Your inventory list may describe the carpets, but descriptions are subjective. A date-stamped photo embedded in the inventory will prove the extent of the degradation and allow you to justify your claim, if it has to go to an impartial adjudicator.
What Do You Need to Record?
Before the tenant moves in, you should take date-stamped photographs or videos of each room within the property that’s relevant to the tenancy. Any outside areas the tenant will be using should also be included.
The choice of whether to use photos or video is a matter for preference. However, the ideal is probably to take a thorough video of each room or space, showing every part of it, and then supplement it with close-up photos of any details that might be of concern.
Things to Remember when Making Your Images
All photos or videos must be high resolution and taken with good lighting. If you’re making the recordings on your phone, test it out beforehand to make sure the resolution is high enough, while any prints must high quality and date stamped.
Where appropriate, make sure each object you’re showing, especially in still photos, is scaled. You can do this by placing a ruler or another recognisable object beside it.
Be sure that each image is cross-referenced with the entry in the inventory list. You’ll also need to have evidence that the tenant has seen all the images at the beginning and end of the tenancy. The ideal way of doing this is to embed them into the inventory and have it signed by both yourself and the tenant.
Taking these measures should hopefully mean any disputes are easily resolved, but you’re very welcome to give me a call if you need any help with a claim against a tenant.