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The Check out Inventory Process: All you Need to Know

Table of Contents
inventory checkout

Key Summary

  • A check out inventory details a property’s condition at tenancy’s end, contrasting with its initial state for transparency.
  • It protects both tenant’s deposit rights and landlord’s property interests, reducing potential disputes.
  • Although not legally required in the UK, it’s considered best practice in the rental industry for clear benchmarking.

What is a check out inventory?

An end of tenancy check out inventory is a detailed report noting the property’s condition at the end of the tenant’s stay compared to its start. It includes high-resolution photographs of all areas, from rooms to the garden. 

The record lists fixtures, furnishings, and appliances, alongside utility meter readings and key photos. In the UK, while not compulsory, it’s vital for safeguarding landlords and tenants, aiding in dispute resolutions.

Why is a check out inventory needed?

The primary reason for a check out inventory is to protect both parties — the tenant and the landlord. Here are some more reasons you may want a check out inventory carried out:

Prevents Disputes

With detailed documentation, there’s a clear reference, reducing chances of disagreements over property damages or changes.

Ensures Return of Deposit

It guarantees that tenants can recover their deposits, barring any significant damages.

Offers Legal Protection

Should a dispute escalate, the inventory provides a robust evidentiary base.

ℹ️ Top Tip: Always ensure your check out inventory is comprehensive and well-documented, as it’s a vital tool in assessing a property’s condition at tenancy’s end. A thorough inventory can significantly streamline the transition process, minimising disputes and ensuring clarity for both landlords and tenants.

Average Tenant Repair Costs Upon Exiting a Property

When tenants leave a property, there might be some wear and tear or damages that require repair. Here’s a breakdown of common repairment costs:

Repair Category Repair Description Approximate Cost Range
Wall Repairs Minor holes £10 – £50 per wall
Repainting scuffed or altered walls £50 – £200 per room
Carpet Cleaning & Repairs Professional cleaning £20 – £60 per room
Carpet patching £50 – £150
Carpet replacement £200 – £1,000+
Window Repairs Cracked pane £50 – £150 per pane
Full window replacement £200 – £800 per window
Appliance Repairs/Replacement Oven cleaning or minor repair £50 – £150
Fridge/freezer repair £50 – £200
Appliance replacement £200 – £1,000+
Bathroom Fixes Replacing broken tiles £5 – £20 per tile
Fixing leaky fixtures £50 – £150
Garden Maintenance Lawn mowing and tidying £30 – £100
Pruning and trimming £50 – £200
Lock Replacements £50 – £200
General Cleaning £20 – £150
Miscellaneous Repairs Replacing broken light bulbs £2 – £10 per bulb
Fixing door handles or hinges £10 – £50 per door

What is the check out inventory process?

The check out inventory process is a methodical and systematic procedure that evaluates the property’s condition at the end of a tenancy. The process ensures that both the landlord and tenant have a clear and mutual understanding of the state of the property, offering protection and clarity to both parties. Let’s delve into its intricacies step by step.

check-out inventory checklist

Selection of a Qualified Professional

The first step involves choosing a competent and unbiased professional, usually an inventory clerk or a specialised company, to undertake the assessment. This person should be familiar with the nuances of property evaluation and ideally should not have a vested interest in either party to ensure impartiality.

Comparative Analysis

Once the professional is selected, they commence by comparing the current state of the property with the initial inventory report. This initial report, documented at the start of the tenancy, serves as a benchmark for comparison.

In-Depth Property Examination

Licensing is a systematic

The assessor then conducts a detailed walkthrough of the property. This involves:

Room-by-Room Inspection

Each space within the property, including living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, and other auxiliary spaces, is examined meticulously.

External Assessment

The property’s exterior, such as gardens, garages, and sheds, is also evaluated.

Photographic Documentation

Clear photographs are taken to visually record the current condition of the property. These images offer visual evidence, particularly useful when highlighting damages or wear and tear.

Fixture and Fitting Check

All fixtures, fittings, and appliances within the property are examined to ensure they are in good working condition.

Documentation of Differences

Any discrepancies, damages, or alterations from the initial inventory are noted. These could range from simple wear and tear to significant structural damage. 

The assessment will:

  • Detail the nature of the damage.
  • Estimate the potential repair or replacement cost.
  • Highlight any items missing from the property.
  • Note changes that might have been agreed upon during the tenancy, such as repainted walls or replaced appliances.

Final Report Compilation

Once the assessment concludes, the professional consolidates all findings into a comprehensive check out inventory report. This report typically includes:

  • Descriptive notes of all observed differences.
  • Photographic evidence.
  • Repair or replacement cost estimates.
  • Any other relevant remarks or observations.

Tenant and Landlord Review

Both the tenant and landlord are provided with the compiled report. They can then review its contents, discuss any highlighted issues, and arrive at an agreement. The findings in this report play a significant role in determining the amount of deposit to be returned to the tenant.

Should you have a check out inventory?

We’ve looked at why a check out inventory is needed, but you might be wondering if it is really needed to have one. Whilst it isn’t a legal requirement, it is considered best practice in the rental industry. Not only does it benefit those renting out their property, but also the other parties involved such as letting agents and the tenants themselves. 

Investing in a check out process provides an additional layer of protection, eliminating ambiguity, reducing the chances of disputes over deposits, and creating a greater level of trust between the landlord and the tenant. 

Benefits of a check out inventory

The check out inventory is an indispensable tool in the realm of property rental, benefitting both landlords and tenants in multifaceted ways. Here’s a more detailed exploration of its core advantages:

Clarity and Transparency

At the heart of a successful landlord-tenant relationship is trust. A check out inventory serves as a tangible representation of this trust. Detailing the state of the property at the end of the tenancy allows both parties to have a clear understanding of the home’s condition. 

This document, complete with photographic evidence and descriptive notes, leaves little room for ambiguity, ensuring all involved have a transparent view of the property’s wear and tear or any damages incurred during the lease.

Financial Security

For many tenants, the deposit signifies a substantial financial commitment. A check out inventory offers a protective layer, ensuring that tenants receive a fair and rightful return of their deposit. 

Comparing the property’s condition at the start and end of the tenancy makes it easier to determine what, if any, deductions are justified which eases the moving process for tenants as they know they won’t be unjustly charged.

Dispute Resolution

In the unfortunate event of a disagreement between the landlord and tenant, the check out inventory acts as an unbiased mediator. This detailed record, often backed by photographs and professional assessments, serves as an objective reference point.

Whether the contention is over a stained carpet or a broken fixture, the inventory provides evidence-based clarity, often preventing minor disagreements from escalating into major disputes.

Maintenance Record

For landlords, maintaining their property is crucial not only to uphold its value but also to ensure it remains an attractive proposition for future tenants. The check out inventory becomes an essential part of the property maintenance process.

Highlighting areas of wear and tear lets landlords proactively address potential issues, scheduling repairs or replacements as needed. This proactive approach often leads to cost savings in the long run, as minor issues can be resolved before they become major, costly problems.

Who pays for the check out inventory?

Tenants in the UK aren’t required to bear the cost of a check out inventory. As per regulations, letting agents or landlords cannot impose charges like the check out inventory fee or end of tenancy fees on tenants. 

With the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act in June 2019, these expenses cannot be shifted to tenants. 

The average cost of a check out inventory will vary whether it is in Manchester or any other UK city, but on average the price ranges from £80 for a studio flat to £120 for a 3 bed property.

What detail should a check out report have?

The check out report serves as a critical bridge from one tenancy’s end to another’s beginning, offering a comprehensive look into a property’s state as tenants exit. For landlords and tenants, understanding the key elements of this report is crucial for a seamless transition. Here’s a breakdown of what a robust check out report encompasses:

Property Identification

Every report starts with the property’s precise identification: its full address and the inspection date. This ensures clarity on the time and place of assessment, preventing potential mix-ups or misattributions.

Room-by-Room Analysis

Each space in the property gets scrutinised, from bedrooms and living areas to kitchens and bathrooms. Critical elements to note include:

  • Room Layout: A snapshot of each room’s function and structure.
  • Fixtures and Fittings: A list of all present, noting their state.
  • Appliances: Especially in functional areas like kitchens, both the physical and working condition of appliances are documented.

Visual Documentation

Detailed descriptions, while essential, are best complemented with photographs. They should be:

  • Time-stamped for verification.
  • Comprehensive, covering different angles of each space.
  • Focused on areas with evident wear or damage.

Utility Readings

For clarity on utility consumption, meter readings for gas, electricity, and water are essential. This preempts disputes, ensuring tenants pay only for their usage duration.

Cleanliness and Damage Assessment

The report should comment on the property’s overall cleanliness, spotlighting areas needing extra attention. Moreover, any damages, minor or significant, must be documented and assessed.

Comparative Review

An effective check out report draws comparisons with the initial inventory, pinpointing changes during the tenancy. This side-by-side view offers insights into natural wear versus potential tenant-induced damages.

When should a check out report be produced?

The ideal moment for producing a check out report is immediately after the tenant vacates, ensuring the property remains unchanged between the tenant’s departure and the report’s creation.

How long does a check out inventory take?

The duration varies based on property size and condition, however, typically, it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.

Agreeing the contents of a check out report

A check out report is not just a document; it represents a consensus on the state of a property as a tenancy concludes. For this reason, it’s imperative that both the tenant and the landlord collaboratively review the contents of the report and agree with it.  

Engaging in a comprehensive walkthrough allows both parties to verify each detail, from the condition of appliances to the state of furnishings. This collaborative process not only reinforces the report’s accuracy but also establishes a platform for open dialogue. 

When both parties reach a mutual agreement, it minimises potential disputes and misunderstandings down the line, solidifying trust and ensuring a smoother transition as the tenancy ends.

What happens if there is a dispute?

Despite the best intentions and thorough property inspections, disputes can sometimes arise between tenants and landlords regarding the state of the property at the end of a tenancy. 

In such instances, the check out inventory becomes an invaluable tool, serving as a factual record and offering evidence that can clarify misunderstandings or misinterpretations. If disagreements persist, it’s advisable to consider mediation, a process wherein a neutral third party helps facilitate a resolution. 

For further reassurance, the Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme in the UK offers a dispute resolution mechanism. This formal process allows both parties to present their case, with the TDP scheme ultimately providing an impartial judgement, ensuring fair play and protection for both tenant and landlord interests.


The check out inventory process, while not legally mandated, is crucial for both landlords and tenants in the UK. It offers a transparent, objective mechanism to assess a property’s condition at the end of a lease. 

This detailed documentation becomes the reference point in deposit settlements, ensuring that tenants are treated fairly and landlords can address property damages. Engaging in this process is a step towards a hassle-free, transparent tenancy experience.

For help with inventory check outs and general property management, check out the services offered by MMC.

From routine safety checks to legal documentation, and from insurance coverage to tenant verification, every aspect is paramount in offering a secure and conducive environment for tenants. With the tools and knowledge at their disposal, landlords can navigate the intricate terrains of property renting with confidence and efficiency in 2023 and beyond.

If you need help maintaining compliance with landlord regulations, contact MMC today!