Inventories & Repairs
Inventories & Repairs
At the start of your tenancy your landlord should give you an inventory. This lists out all of the fixtures, fittings and furniture in the property and the condition that they are in. This is an important document as it is proof that you are not at fault for any existing damage. It can be vital when trying to get your deposit back when you move out.
Here are some handy nuggets of information to keep you on the right track. If you can't find what you're looking form, just get in touch - we're happy to help!
Also, have a peek at http://www.housingadviceni.org/advice-private-tenants. It also has loads of information about private renting.
Check your Inventory
If your landlord gives you an inventory, check that it:
- Includes every single item in the property and whether there is any existing damage. For example, broken furniture and stains on the carpet
- You agree with the conditions that the landlord has stated
- Make sure you read your contract thoroughly. Check what you and your landlord’s responsibilities are regarding repairs before you sign and commit yourself
The inventory should be signed and dated by both yourself and your landlord. You should each keep a copy.
If your landlord doesn’t give you one, make your own. Ask your landlord, agent or independent witness to sign it. Send them all a copy, including any pictures you have taken. Check out the sample inventory below in 'Make an Inventory'.
- Make an Inventory
Remember, when you move in:
- Make a list of everything in the property and its condition
- Take photos of the walls, carpets and furniture. Keep them safe incase there is a dispute in relation to repairs or damages. Use the date setting on your camera or take a picture of a newspaper showing the date as proof
- Ask your landlord to sign it and keep a copy
- If your landlord won’t sign it, ask an independent witness to sign and date it. Send a copy to the landlord and witness by email or recorded delivery
- Watch Out
Try your best to keep the property you’re living in in good condition. Some things to avoid:
- Pay your rent on time. It is wise to set up a standing order with your bank
- Do not stick any posters to the walls. This may damage some areas of the paint and is an easy way for landlords to keep some or all of your deposit to redecorate
- If you are renting a house with a garden, check who’s responsibility it is to maintain it. If it’s yours, the landlord should provide the gardening equipment
- Maintain the house properly. Clean and vacuum regularly and pay particular attention to cookers, fridges, toilets, showers and baths. Use proper cleaning materials
- Respect the owner’s fixtures and fittings. Burn marks on the carpet, or cigarette burns in the furniture could cost you your entire deposit - or more
- When you move out make sure that you clean the entire property inside and out. Remove all of your belongings and rubbish
- ‘Check-out’ with the landlord before you leave. Use your inventory, noting any changes. Take some more photos and keep them safe incase there is a dispute in relation to getting your deposit back!
- Report Repairs
ALWAYS report any repairs required in writing to the landlord immediately:
- This should prove that any damage caused by a landlord not repairing the problem after you told them about it was not your fault. Keep a copy of the letter you send the landlord and update your inventory
- Your tenancy agreement will show who is responsible for which types of repairs. If you break a vase, for example, you might have to replace it yourself. If this happens, make sure you run this past your landlord, update your inventory and keep all your receipts
- If it is something more serious, write to your landlord and ask them to sort it out.
The response time will vary depending on the nature of the repair but anything that affects your health and safety should be acted on promptly. If your landlord doesn’t get back to you about a serious issue, you should tell them that you will be reporting it to the Environmental Health Department of the Belfast City Council or to the Houses of Multiple Occupation Office of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.