When you rent a property you will arrange for a check in appointment or handover meeting before you move into the property. The landlord or agent will take you round and check the cleanliness of the property and also instruct you on how to set the central heating and hot water and the location of the stop cock. The meter readings should also be taken and recorded in order that accounts can be set up with the utility companies.
Keys are handed over and a note taken of how many sets/keys in order that the same number are returned at the end of the tenancy.
You should receive an inventory and schedule of condition for the property which will list all the items in the property and also their condition at the commencement of the tenancy.
There will be a lot going on and you may not take as much care as perhaps you should and you will probably be excited about your new home and not really in the mood to take in all of the details. College and County will leave two copies of the inventory with you. Both copies should be updated with any differences noted, signed and dated and one copy returned to College and County within 7 days to be kept on file until the end of the tenancy.
Remember that the whole point of the inventory is that it is a record of the condition of the property at the time you moved in. For example if there is no record of the long deep scratch on the kitchen table surface on the inventory and you don't update the inventory, it will be assumed at the check out when you leave, that you caused it. This may result in you being expected to pay for a new table.
Tenants taking photographs is also a good idea, particularly if they show the date. Any maintenance issues identified during the inventory check procedure should also be either written on the inventory or emailed to the agent or landlord for their attention. Emailing any maintenance issues ensures that there is a time and date record of your report.