As a landlord, it is important to conduct inspections of your properties to track the condition of the property as well as to identify any small repairs before they escalate. While you must look after your property it is important to do so within the law.
A property inspection is used to evaluate the condition of the property, inside and out, and to ensure everything is in good working order and reasonable condition. It can allow landlords and tenants to raise any concerns they may have and to identify any small issues which require repair before becoming more serious.
There is also the opportunity to identify any illegal activity, check the property before undertaking viewings, and to build a good working relationship with the tenant which will make any future interaction much easier and improve satisfaction levels.
By granting a tenancy, the landlord has given the tenant exclusive possession of the property. This means that the landlord can only enter the property with the tenants permission, and if the visit is outlined in the lease agreement. Landlords can only enter without permission in case of an emergency.
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 gives the landlord the right to enter premises to view the condition and state of repair. However this inspection must; be conducted at reasonable times of the day; give the tenant 24 hours written notice; and that if someone other than the landlord or agent will be conducting the inspection they must be authorised in writing. The tenant also has the right to be present during the inspection.
While 24 hours notice is a legal requirement, it is polite to give tenants as much notice as possible.
In the UK landlords or their agent usually carry out an inspection upon a tenant move in and move out, as well as routine inspections every 3-6 months. Any more than this may be deemed as harassment as the tenant has a right to quiet enjoyment.
The landlord or agent must legally check certain things when they conduct an inspection. They must check the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are functional. That the water, heating and electricity are working. There is access to escape routes, and that the electrical fittings and appliances provided by the landlord are safe to use.
Illegal Activity and Breaches
Such things to look out for include; the farming of illegal substances; evidence of unauthorised pets; signs of smoking; and any unauthorised subletting of the whole or part of the property.
Health and Sanitation
This area of checks will include anything that can be a health hazard to tenants. A common issue is the presence of damp and mould which may be caused by blocked drains, faulty plumbing and leaks. It makes sense to check pipes for leaks to prevent more serious damage in the future. Mould can be more prevalent in kitchens and bathrooms due to the amount of steam generated. Checking that any extractor fans are clean and working can reduce this.
To record the general condition of the property, the inspector will need to check the condition of furniture and furnishings, ensuring any wear and tear is reasonable. This also goes for walls and flooring and any items that were provided by the landlord at the beginning of the tenancy.
Property inspections are a vital part of the letting process. A successful inspection will provide details of any changes to the property, unearth any need for repairs and ensure the investment is being looked after properly. It is also a useful tool to get to know the tenant and create a good relationship with them. The majority of tenants will be happy to accommodate inspections and will likely use them to ask questions and raise any issues. However landlords should remember that the property is another person’s home and should treat the inspection very courteously.
Direct Line. 2019. Accessed 12th November, 2019, from https://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/landlord-insurance/knowledge-centre/tenants/landlord-rental-property-inventories-and-inspections
My Smart Move. 2017. Accessed 12th November, 2019, from https://www.mysmartmove.com/SmartMove/blog/how-perform-rental-property-inspection.page
Property Investment Project. Accessed 12th November, 2019, from https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/its-important-to-inspect-your-buy-to-let-property/
Easy Property. Accessed 12th November, 2019, from https://easyproperty.com/property-inspection-checklist-things-to-look-for/