As specialist surveyors of both public and private rental properties, Prince Krofa & Sons offers services that assist both sides in services that can help to resolve disputes and make for a more harmonious relationship. Here, we explain Inventory and Schedule of Condition reports, what they involve and why they are important.
What is the difference between an Inventory and a SOC?
An Inventory report provides a record of the contents of a rented property, including the décor, fixtures, fittings and non-fitted furniture, that comes as part of the tenancy agreement.
Meanwhile, the Schedule of Condition report goes further, providing a statement on, as the name suggests, the condition of these contents. With both of these reports, the condition at the start of the tenancy can be compared to that throughout, and at the end, of the tenancy.
If there are any changes or planned alterations to the Inventory during the tenancy, a Check-Out report must be conducted in addition to log the changes, provided they are all agreed to by both the landlord and tenant.
Are these a legal requirement for a landlord / tenant?
The short answer is: no.
HOWEVER – if you have no complete record of the condition of a property and its items, you will find it very difficult to resolve disputes and make deposit claims.
While an Inventory Report and SOC are not legally-required, like a Gas Safety Certificate, it can offer a landlord peace of mind in making sure any damage or theft is accounted for, and the tenant in giving them a platform to defend against deposit deductions and unnecessary repair costs when the lease ends. It can also be used during Mid-Term Inspections and Check-Out reports in order to highlight the current condition of the property.
What should an Inventory Report / SOC contain?
Both Inventory and SOC reports can be provided for a particular date in Residential and Commercial leasehold properties. They should contain, depending on the size and scope of the property, detailed written statements on each of the building’s contents and photographic evidence to back them up. A standard Inventory report might include statements on:
Fixtures and fittings
Wallpaper / paint jobs
Floor coverings (carpet, laminate etc.)
Kitchens, units and appliances
Outbuildings (garages, sheds and other outbuildings)
Furniture (included in the tenancy agreement)
What can I expect from a SOC survey?
As ever, it is highly recommended to choose an RICS-regulated surveyor to carry out Schedule of Condition reports, as they can guarantee professional, thorough reports backed up by years of specific industry experience.
Once evidence is compiled, which will usually take about an hour depending on how large or how heavily-furnished the property is, your surveyor will hand a copy of the Inventory and SOC reports to both the landlord and tenant, regardless of which has booked the survey. This can be used for records, which can then be reused alongside Mid-Term and Check-Out inspections.
For the best results, we suggest an Inventory and SOC survey should be carried out a few days before the tenant moves in, to offer the most accurate picture of the contents’ condition as soon as the lease begins.
How can Inventory and SOC reports help with deposit disputes?
In England, where Prince Krofa & Sons operates, leasehold properties are governed by Tenancy Deposit Protection laws. Under this, a landlord must place the tenant’s deposit in a protection scheme, which protects it from deductions as long as the tenant:
Meets the terms of the tenancy agreement
Does not cause damage or steal from the property
Pays the rent and all bills on time
The full or agreed amount of the deposit must then be returned to the tenant within 10 days of the lease ending.
Where disputes arise, an Inventory and SOC report can heavily assist in providing evidence both for and to rebuke deductions. Incidences that most commonly cause deductions include where items are missing from the property, gardens and outdoor spaces have been left in a bad condition and items belonging to the landlord not in the tenancy agreement have been used without permission, such as oil. Both Inventory and SOC reports, as well as Check-In and Check-Out inspections, are the most important sources in claiming for missing and damaged contents.
In addition, their importance to tenants cannot be negated. Often times, landlords have tried to charge vulnerable tenants for “normal wear and tear”, which is illegal under UK tenancy law. Both these reports can confirm onus and responsibility for repair costs later into the tenancy, and provide tenants with evidence to defend themselves against unlawful deductions.
IMPORTANT: SOC report is NOT a Condition report.
Finally, it is worth mention that, while, in previous blogs, PKS has mentioned its provision of Condition reports, a Schedule of Condition report is not the same. A Condition report’s aim is not only to log the state of contents in a property, but also to forecast potential repairs and future costs. These reports are more commonly associated with property owners rather than landlords and tenants.
If you are a landlord or tenant seeking Inventory and/or Schedule of Condition reports, Prince Krofa & Sons has almost a decade of RICS-regulated experience in services tailored to your needs.
Contact us here for queries, and to book a survey. You can also follow our various social media sites for more up-to-date information (links in top-right).
Sources: LettingaProperty.com / gov.uk