Tenancy Inspections are a vital part of maintain and letting a property for a landlord but they can be a real sore point in tenant/landlord relationships and often something which cause a lot of grief and stress when they aren’t conducted properly. The main purpose of a tenancy inspection is to check the condition of the property and to ensure that tenants are maintaining it correctly. This is of benefit to both the tenant and the landlord as it gives both parties opportunity to note improvements and maintenance jobs that need to be carried out, hopefully meaning the tenants home will be improved, repaired and updated. This blog gives you all the basic need to know’s to help your inspections be positive rather than negative and to be something that benefits all concerned rather than something the tenant views as a threatening experience.
Right to Entry
As the owner of a property and the landlord you still don’t have the right to return to the property and enter it whenever you feel like it – you must abide by the law stipulated in the Housing Act 1988 and so must your tenants. The main thing to bear in mind is that you must give your tenants written notice of your entry to the property at least 24 hours in advance and you should organise your visit at reasonable hours that suit the tenants as much as possible. The tenant must agree to the arranged visit time. When you go to your property to conduct the inspection you should knock and wait for the door to be answered rather than just letting yourself in. If you don’t give written notice, then tenants have the legal right to deny you entry into the property. Even if you have given written notice, if the tenant still denies access you should not enter as you would be at risk of ‘trespassing and harassment.’
What to Spot
Once you have arranged an inspection date and time, given written notice and been let into the property what exactly should you look for? You should look for any maintenance problems and repairs that need to happen. You should check on the tenants’ standard of living, you can’t evict them if you don’t like the way they are living but you can find new tenants at the end of their contract. You should also watch out for any illegal activities, extra people living in the house, drug dealing etc. Some tenants pay on time and keep up good communications with the landlord to avoid inspections, enabling them to hide their activities inside your property.
Maintenance & Repairs
In terms of maintenance and repairs the most important things to note in the inspection are damp and mould – this needs dealing with or it will only create more serious problems in the property, and leaks which obviously require immediate attention. You also need to check the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning. You need to check the general wear and tear and state of repair on fixtures and fittings. You should check the condition of the garden too. Remember there is a difference, albeit a small one, between wear and tear and damage. You can only hold tenants liable for damage so make sure you can prove it before you note it on the inspection document.
Landlords and tenants don’t need to have a strained relationship, in fact conducting regular inspections (quarterly/biannually as you feel it is required) provides a chance for relationships to develop and improve as tenants have more opportunity to communicate with the landlord about the condition of the property etc. Most tenants are happy to accommodate tenancy inspections and maintenance workers and repairmen but relationships are greatly improved when landlords arrange such thing with the tenant’s schedules in mind, working around them and thanking them for their time. There is only benefit in treating your tenants with courtesy and being as flexible as possible with the appointments you are arranging. It is beneficial to arrange inspections when the tenants will be in as it protects the landlord against accusations of theft and gives the tenant opportunity to point out wear and tear/ problems they have noticed to the landlord. If you do note anything that needs repairing or updating then make sure you action this so the tenant doesn’t feel it was a wasted inspection and so that you keep your property in the best of conditions.
For more help and advice on how to manage a successful property investment portfolio then do contact the team at Nick Fox.
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