Ever had your investment abused by careless tenants? Whether it’s damage to the property or a general disrespect, it’s a horrible feeling. You feel cheated by the people you trusted.
Deposits and tenant referencing companies are great ways of combating bad tenants, but there’s another step you should be taking. Regular landlord inspections are vital for ensuring your tenant is actually maintaining your property as agreed in the tenancy agreement.
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 You Should Carry Out a Rental House Inspection
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, such as health and safety requirements
- 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
- You may not have a duty of care to neighbours, but it may avoid disputes to check in with them. They may be able to tell you information about how your tenants are behaving that you might otherwise miss
Can a Landlord Enter Without Permission?
When it comes to entering the property, there are rules.
You can’t just turn up and inspect the condition of the property. The landlord or agent doesn’t necessarily need permission before entering. However, there are laws you need to follow when it comes to regular inspections.
Legally, there are three main rights of entry:
The Right of Reasonable Access
As a landlord, you need to be aware of your Landlord access rights. ‘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 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 give notice of inspection 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.
Can a Landlord Enter the Property Without the Tenant Present?
If the reason for access is one of the ones mentioned above, such as an emergency, the tenant does not need to be present during inspection.
However, tenants should still be informed. This is their home also, so it’s a good idea to let them know if you’ve entered, and for what reason.
A landlord entering the property without permission or reason is against the law.
How Much Notice Does a Landlord Have to Give?
Usually, you must provide at least 24 hours notice before entry. This can differ in an emergency.
Landlord Right of Entry – Try Not to Scare the Tenant
Inspections can be scary for your tenants, as they’re obligated to look after your property. 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.
Landlord House Inspection Checklist
So, what should you be looking for?
There are plenty of issues you might come across, some more serious than others. 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
Periodic Inspection Report
It’s recommended to carry out a house inspection every 3 months or less. This depends on the length of the tenancy.
To help you monitor your property effectively and keep track of any recurring issues, you may want to fill out a house inspection form of some kind.
This can be particularly useful if you spot a problem on a particular visit, and find it has not been corrected next time. With all the obligations landlords have, having a record can help you stay informed about the condition of your rental property.
Can Tenants Refuse Access to a Property?
If you turn up unannounced, for example without written notice, the tenant can refuse to grant entry.
To avoid this, give plenty of warning.
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 situation where a harmonious relationship between landlord and tenant can be jeopardised.
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 House 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.
How Can an Inventory for a Rental Property Help?
Want to lower the possibility of deposit disputes and damage to your investment? No Letting Go will manage the entire inventory process in a professional and open manner. This includes check ins and check outs. We’ll help you comply with your obligations, while improving the lives of tenants. Find out more about our inventory services here.