Ever had your investment abused by careless tenants? It’s a horrible feeling. You feel cheated by people you trusted. Deposits and flawless inventories are great ways of combating bad tenants but there’s another step you should be taking. Landlord inspections are vital for ensuring your tenant is actually maintaining your property. Many landlords avoid checking their investment purely because there are clear regulations to follow. Don’t be one of those landlords, here’s what you need to know about property inspections.
Why Should I Inspect My Property?
Not convinced about the need to inspect your property? Here are a few advantages of inspections:
- You can assess how your tenant treats the property
- You can check on any maintenance issues that need your attention
- You boost your reputation as a landlord and become more approachable
- You can create an open pathway of communication with your tenants
- You can take a look at the living conditions of your tenant
- You can keep an eye out for any illegal activities
- You can check that you’re still offering a safe and legal letting to the tenant
When Can I Enter My Property?
You can’t just turn up and inspect your property. There are laws you need to follow when it comes to inspections. Legally, there are three main rights of entry.
The Right of Reasonable Access
‘Reasonable access’ sounds like a very general term but it is simply defined. This ultimately refers to the need to access the property immediately to carry out emergency/necessary repairs.
The Right to Enter to Inspect the State of Repair of the Property
As owner of the property you can also enter to inspect the ‘state of repair’. For inspections, you aren’t granted immediate access. You must provide notice at least 24 hours before entry. You must also carry out all inspections at reasonable times of day. If someone other than yourself (or a previously agreed agent) is inspecting the property, you must notify a tenant of this in writing.
The Right to Enter to Provide Room Cleaning Services
If you offer room-cleaning services to your tenant and this is stated clearly in the contract, you can access the property without permission. This is a relatively uncommon situation.
Try Not to Scare the Tenant
Inspections can be scary for your tenants. As soon as you notify them of your intention to check your property, they’ll begin to sweat. Be as casual and relaxed about it as you can. Explain there’s no reason for them to be worried, it’s just a mandatory walk through. If you’re able to, give your tenant more than the required 24 hours’ notice – a week is usually best. This gives them time to present the rental in a clean and tidy state. Be flexible about the time of your visit and offer to rearrange if it isn’t convenient.
What Should I Look for During an Inspection?
There are plenty of issues to look out for. Your inspection can be as thorough or casual as you’d like. Having said this, keep your eyes peeled for these common problems:
- Damage beyond wear and tear (broken windows, stained carpets, etc.)
- Damp and mould
- Condition of furniture and white goods
- Excessive rubbish
- Poorly maintained garden
- Faulty smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors
- State of the loft/attic
- Signs or rodents/infestations
What Happens If the Tenant Refuses Entry?
If a tenant refuses to grant permission for entry, you can’t go ahead without their blessing. As a landlord, you have to respect the tenant’s privacy. This can create a difficult and worrying situation. Tenants only tend to refuse entry if they’re hiding something unsavoury from you. Unfortunately, you can’t take the issue any further.
How to End the Inspection
Communication is key here. If there are issues you’re not happy with, explain why and discuss whose responsibility it is. If you’re coming back to complete any repairs, give full details of when this will be. Don’t forget to ask your tenant whether they know of any issues or damages that require your attention. Ultimately, thank them for their time – remember, they weren’t obliged to let you in.
Property Inventory services
Want to lower the possibility of deposit disputes and damage to your investment? No Letting Go’s will manage the entire inventory process in a professional and open manner. This includes check ins and check outs. Find out more about how we can help you here.