Who should carry out inventory checks?
29 March 2022 5313 Views
It’s a frequent question in lettings: Who should carry out inventory checks and create reports for a rented property? Should it be the landlord, letting agent or independent inventory clerk? In other words, is it better to keep inventory reporting in-house or to outsource?
There are benefits to each, of course, and that depends on your situation. Here’s a look at the main advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing inventory reporting:
The benefits to doing your own inventory reports:
Cost: One of the most obvious reasons for carrying out your own inventories for your property or clients is the cost benefit. Don’t just look at the external fees, though. It’s important to weigh up your internal costs too. How much time does it take to visit a property, carry out a comprehensive check-in and check-out, and follow up with tenants to get their sign off? What does that equate to in money and how does that compare to the cost of outsourcing to an inventory clerk?
Knowledge: You know your property better than anyone if you’re the landlord. If you’re the agent, chances are you’ve been managing that letting for a while and know the property’s issues, defects, contents and maintenance history. This insight can streamline the inventory process as you know what to look for and where the potential problems could arise – and what has likely occurred due to tenant responsibility or wear and tear. A third party won’t know this initially, which could add more admin time to the process.
Consistency: By keeping the process inhouse, you can develop a consistent approach to inventory reporting that your team can become familiar with. This brings efficiencies in time and can be invaluable when referring to records. It also helps to eliminate human error and encourages comprehensive reporting consistently. By having a standard approach to reporting, your team can be trained to follow procedures and maintain quality.
The advantages of using an independent inventory company:
Compliance – an accredited inventory clerk must follow strict working practices and must demonstrate an excellent knowledge of the latest legislation in the industry. As all property professionals know, keeping on top of regulations in our industry can be complex and time-consuming. Failure to adhere to the laws in lettings can also result in financial penalties. Using a third party removes that worry (especially as many carry extra insurances) and ensures your property management stays on the right side of the law.
Independence – whilst good knowledge of a property can save time, there is advantage to having an outside, unbiased perspective on a property when viewing it for an inventory. An external inventory company will view that property without agenda and may see things you wouldn’t as a result. This could protect you in a deposit dispute case. Similarly, the evidence in your case may carry more weight with an adjudicator if it has been collated by a reputable third party.
Time – inventories can take up valuable time; time that could be spent focused on more profitable activities. If you cover a large geographical area, you need to calculate the time it takes to travel to and from a property, as well as the inventory audit itself. As mentioned above, the time it takes to complete the report, take the photographs (and annotate them), get them signed-off and filed can take hours. Could that time be better spent elsewhere in the business?
Fortunately, when it comes to the time spent in inventory reporting, there are now ways to significantly cut down those hours into minutes with the Inventory Hive app. Used by landlords, letting agents and professional inventory companies, reporting doesn’t take the time it used to. Far from it, in fact. Today, thanks to technology, inventory templates are available, compliance is in-built, storage is secure, and reminders are in place automatically to make the process infinitely easier – regardless of who carries out the task.
Check out this free guide to learn more about who’s best to carry out inventory reports: Outsourcing vs In-house Inventories: The advantages and Disadvantages