If you want to minimise disputes with your tenants over the deposit return, prepare a detailed tenancy inventory at the start of each tenancy.

If tenants are aware that the state and contents of the property have been itemised, they are more likely to ensure that the property is left in the same condition in which it was originally let. Tenancy inventories are particularly important now that tenancy deposit schemes are in place across the UK as they form critical evidence in cases of disputes.

(Read more: Make your property more attractive to tenants)

At the check-in, the tenancy inventory details the current state of the property, including descriptions, age and condition of the fixtures, fittings and furnishing. This helps landlords and letting agents compare the state of the property at check-in and at check-out property inventory. Make sure the tenancy inventory is written in simple language and defines the terms used to report the condition or cleanliness of items in the property. It must be clear enough for a third-party to understand without them being present.

(Read more: Do you know how to ensure buy to let success)

If a tenancy inventory is not carried out, or if it was insufficiently detailed, then it may not be clear how the property should be left before departure, which could lead to a deposit dispute. Dealing with a deposit dispute can be stressful and costly for those involved so it’s always preferable to avoid this. Do you need a property manager?

Prepare for the tenancy inventory check-in for your rental property

Doors and walls

  • Check doors open, close and, where necessary, lock properly.
  • Deal with any signs of mould or damp on the walls.
  • Note the condition of skirting boards and door frames.
  • Look out for any marks, stains or damage to shelves, surfaces, ceiling, painted areas or wallpaper.

(Read more: How to avoid tenancy void periods?)


  • Look for any stains on carpets and any rips to the flooring or carpets.
  • Check for holes and stains on the floors and look for chips or signs of stained grout on tiled floors.

(Read more: Landlord Insurance Guide)


  • Check all windows open and close properly and are damage free. Note any damage or staining to curtains, rails and blinds.
  • Deal with any signs of condensation, damp or mould.

(Read more: Unexpected costs of being a landlord)


  • Check the state of the cupboards and worktops, make sure all white goods work, are clean and clear of mould or damage.
  • Make sure the oven, grill and hobs are clean and in full working order.

(Read more: How to evict a tenant in the UK?)


  • Make sure the taps work and sinks and bathtub drain properly.
  • Check the shower works, the doors, showerhead and curtains are fitted properly and are clean.
  • Ensure the toilet is clean, in good working order and flushes properly.
  • Note any stains or damage to the toilet, sink, bathtub, any mirrors or tiles.
  • Deal with any areas with mould.


  • Make sure that drives, gardens and paths are presentable, with no rubbish or unwanted items and that they are damage free.
  • Check that fences and garden walls are intact.
  • Inspect any garages or sheds for damage and for clutter that may have to be removed.
  • Check that any side gates are secure.


  • Make sure that all essentials are in working order, that all the lights work, bulbs are in place, fittings are secure, and plug sockets are fully functioning.
  • Also, let a professional check the boiler and the radiators are functioning.
  • Tenants will need to know the location of all meters and how to take accurate readings to pay for energy and water consumption.

Please contact Pelin Martin to book your free 30-minute property consultation on +0208 994 7327 – pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk

West London Property Networking