How to organise an inventory

publication date: Oct 29, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Have you got an iventory to organise? Here's some tips on how to do it...

Thanks to inventory expert Rachel Hudson, here’s some hints and tips on how to organise an inventory yourself.

You have various options when carrying out an inventory. You can do it yourself, but as it is the crucial document in any tenant disputes, I don’t recommend it unless you have a real eye for detail.

The second is to secure inventory software and Rachel has created a really good system called Inventory Genius which is extremely cost effective.

Finally you can call someone in to do it for them – putting the requirement on them to get it right. If you do this, make sure they are a member of the AIIC or APIP so if something goes wrong, you have a right to complain, for free, to an independent third party.

The inventory should ideally be recorded when the property is ready for a tenant to move in, when all renovations and cleaning have been completed.

The final document should follow a consistent format and be well presented, clear and concise.

Read - Inventory checklist from Inventory Genius 


1. Basic process of creating an inventory:


  • The beginning of the report needs to include
  • The title page showing the property address, brief description of the property, Tenant details (if this is known), date of report and person compiling the report
  • The scope and limitations of the report
  • Glossary of terms of condition
  • Glossary of term of cleanliness
  • Definitions, points of clarity of any assumptions
  • Contents
  • Page containing stop tap, fuse box, alarm panel etc locations
  • Page for meter readings (serial numbers) and keys

Read - Inventory checklist from Inventory Genius



2. Inventory (The main body of the report)

The main body of the report is presented with individual rooms which contain a full description of the room including all contents, condition for each room and contents, along with extra space for a comments column for check in and check out.

The inventory also covers external areas such as gardens, garages, sheds etc.

All the property needs to be covered.

There is no right or wrong way to undertake an inventory but you should ideally move around the property in the same direction. Whether this is clockwise or anticlockwise. Most professional inventory providers move around the property clockwise as this is common practice so if you carry out a check in or check out on an inventory prepared by another provider you know the format.

Read - Inventory checklist from Inventory Genius


An inventory should have the following key elements:


  • Inventory item header – walls, ceiling, doors etc
  • Inventory item and description – (doors – white painted, four panelled wooden door, with brass effect knob handles)
  • Clear and concise condition description (poor condition overall with 10cm scratch to centre right)
  • Photos are now considered to be an essential and integral part of any inventory. However, they should only be used as an addition to, and not as a substitute for, the written word. They should be incorporated in the relevant section.
  • A declaration page at the very end.


I have enclosed copies of a standard inventory as well as check in and check out inventories. 


The full inventory process, which should ideally happen during a tenancy.

  1. An inventory (this maybe sent to the tenant and left with them to return, instead of carrying out a check in below). If not returned before 7 days it is deemed as being accepted by the tenants which is normally written in the declaration)
  2. A check in inventory (this is the correct route, you go round with the tenant and check together making notes of anything not noted in the originally inventory)
  3. Quarterly a periodic visit is made and you should take the original inventory so you can check against it for any changes or damages.
  4. Check Out (this is carried out at the end of the tenancy. You are required to give the tenant the opportunity to go round with you but this is not common practice.

Read - Inventory checklist from Inventory Genius

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