Inventory jargon buster – what are the terms you need to get to grips with?

In the property industry, there are a range of key terms that are used to explain the different processes and stages involved with letting a home.

And, when it comes to inventories specifically, there are quite a few things to get your head around.

Understanding the different terminology associated with inventories can help to prevent instances where misinterpretations and confusion arise.

At the AIIC, we encourage landlords, tenants and letting agents to actively learn these terms to make the check-in and check-out process easier for all parties.


Property inventories are detailed reports which explain the condition of the property before, during and after a tenancy. These include a list and description of the contents as well as the various components of the home. Fixtures, fittings, and wear and tear are recorded as part of the inventory.

Inventories can be carried out by landlords, letting agents or inventory clerks, although it is advised that professional inventory clerks conduct these checks. The inventory process is comprehensive and takes a lot of skill, therefore professional inventory clerks are more qualified to carry these out effectively. 

When the tenant moves out, if they are liable to pay for damaged, broken, or missing items, the inventory will highlight this.

Inventory clerk

Inventory clerks carry out inventory checks across a range of properties. They are responsible for compiling on-site reports and taking photographs.

Day-to-day duties include inspecting properties, logging keys, traveling to various properties, and interacting with clients and tenants.

Inventory clerks have the necessary training and expertise to carry these out at a high standard. 


During a property check-in the property, keys, and any other important documentation are handed over to the new tenants right at the start of the tenancy. 

The inventory report should be completed as part of the check-in process, too.


Check-out reports document the condition of the property and highlight the cleanliness of the home. If any changes have occurred, these will also be recorded. 

If any damage is identified or items are logged as missing, this could result in deductions from the tenant’s deposit.

During the check-out, comparisons between the status of the home at the start of the tenancy are made and this is useful evidence if disputes or, in very rare cases, legal proceedings do arise.

Mid-term inspection

During the middle of the tenancy, a mid-term inspection will often be carried out. During this stage, the tenant can use it as an opportunity to ask questions about the tenancy, but most importantly this highlights whether the property is being looked after.

In more serious instances, this stage can reveal if any illegal or unauthorised activity is happening on the premises.

Mid-term inspections can be conducted by the landlord, but it is advised that professional inventory clerks conduct these.

Details of the property’s overall condition and contents are checked during the inspection. Breaches of the tenancy agreement as well as maintenance are inspected, too.

Inventory reports

Inventory reports are detailed reports that document the status of the property.

They are relied on because they reveal whether the rental property is in the same condition as at the start of a tenancy.

Inventory reports should include meter readings, the condition and cleanliness of each room, appliances, fixtures, furniture, and fittings, and the condition of the garden should be included as well. 

These detailed reports should also have date and time-stamped photos of the property and its contents. They must also demonstrate that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms comply with legislation.

Schedule of condition

A schedule of condition, also known as report of condition, is an in-depth documentation of the exterior and interior of the home. 

Everything from the contents, appliances, white goods, décor, fixtures and fittings, equipment serial numbers, list of keys, meter readings, and codes should be noted down in detail.


In the event of a dispute, adjudicators analyse the evidence presented to them and decide who to award funds that have been disputed.

Adjudicators are unbiased and come to a fair decision based on the information given to them by both parties. 

Tenancy dispute

At the start of the tenancy, tenants must put down a deposit, but if any items are damaged or broken during the tenancy, the landlords can make deductions from the deposit.

Wear and tear are considered inevitable – therefore, deductions should not be made for these. However, if this does happen, unfair deductions from tenancy deposits can be disputed.

Inventories are more important than ever when tenancy disputes arise. If any deductions are made deposit protection schemes and the court require detailed evidence to support claims. 

As an agent or landlord, you want to protect your investments and establish smooth transitions from one tenant to the next. Here at the AIIC, we are dedicated to promoting the highest possible standards of accuracy and reliability in the inventory process and have been endorsing high levels of professionalism in the inventory business since 1996.

It is our mission to ensure proper information and training is provided and our bank of highly skilled members will provide the best possible service. For more information, please contact us or search for your local AIIC member clerk now.

You can also download a copy of our Code of Practice and Guidelines for Professional Practice guide here.

Published on 15/07/2022