Regular property inspections are an often overlooked part of a landlord’s job. In reality it is an essential duty which benefits both the landlord and the tenant.
No matter how many credit checks and references a landlord completes they are still entrusting a stranger with the upkeep of a large investment. It is a qualified risk, but a risk nonetheless, and it is always prudent to take an interest in areas where your investments are exposed to external risk factors.
There are several reasons why a landlord should commit to regular checks, such as:
- Spot maintenance and repair issues and generally assure that your investment is being looked after by the tenant; Inspections are a good opportunity to identify minor problems before they escalate and become major issues.
- Spot any illegal activities taking place in your property; For obvious reasons, it is best to nip illegal activities in the bud as soon as possible. For instance, there has been a rise in the number of rented properties being used as cannabis farms in recent years. This can lead to structural damage and serious damp issues, adversely affecting the value of your property.
- Build a good relationship with the tenant; A good, working relationship with a tenant goes a long way to ensuring that your investment is looked after. Inspecting the property at reasonable intervals in order to keep the place maintained in good working order will pay off in the long run. Regular inspections will also ensure that, come the end of the tenancy, there are fewer issues with working out the final deposit, a notoriously painful process. A positive relationship benefits everyone involved.
High priority items to check are broken fixtures and fittings, such as taps and showers, and that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in correct working order. Any instances of damp or mould should also be looked into; a tenant may not be aware of an outbreak of damp if they have become used to it, but a landlord should notice immediately if something is not quite right.
There are legalities to consider before carrying out an inspection of your property. You cannot turn up unannounced demanding entry as this is very unfair on the tenant. The landlord must give 24 hours’ notice to the tenant in writing. If someone other than the landlord is to carry out the inspection then they must be authorised to do so by the tenant. The relevant legal text (LINK) from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is as follows:
“In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair.”
Inspections are generally carried out quarterly, though this should be reduced when the tenant has proven his or her self to be trustworthy when it comes to looking after the property and reporting any issues in good time.
On the other hand, even if there are issues with the tenant, there is no reason to start inspecting the property more regularly than that. Aside from the fact that too many inspections will end up taking over your life, the tenant will not appreciate the constant impositions in their life and could file an official complaint. Tenants have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ – to not be hassled and enjoy the property without disturbance. However, as long as they are not too regular or oppressive, it is in a tenant’s best interests to welcome regular inspections.
Property inspections benefit everyone involved and taking a proactive approach to them will help to ensure a productive tenancy.
At Intus Lettings we pride ourselves on carrying out thorough and timely property inspections on all managed properties. In this we ensure that all properties are being treated with the right level of care and that tenancies run smoothly for all involved.