Property inspections are a vital element of every letting. Carrying out regular inspections serves to give landlords notice of any potential problems with the property or the behaviour of tenants and, hopefully, they can then be rectified before they become a bigger issue. We discuss the 6 most common issues a property inspection can unveil.
Damp and mould
These can be common problems in rented properties, especially if insufficient attention is paid to ventilation by the tenants. It can often be easier for someone who is not living in a property to detect the unmistakeable smell of damp. If a property does suffer from these issues, they need to be remedied before they cause health problems and damage to the property, also to ensure the property is maintained in line with the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.
The drainage to the property should be checked, together with the areas around radiators, sinks, baths and showers. Small leaks can easily cause major problems over time and it is important to catch them early. Tenants may not notice a problem until it is too late.
Wear and tear and damage
One of the main elements of any property inspection is to check the state and condition of the property and its contents. Any damage or deterioration can be noted and action taken to fix it before it gets worse. Some wear and tear is to be expected, but you will be able to check whether the property or contents such as carpets are deteriorating faster than expected. It is vital to keep a full record of the condition found when inspecting a property, which is where the Inventory base letting app is so useful. Photographs and videos can be added easily to property records and a full range of reports created.
Pets, smoking and other tenancy breaches
Many landlords do not allow pets in their properties at all, and while some may allow smaller pets, they will not allow cats or dogs due to the damage they can cause. During an inspection, be aware of odours which could indicate the presence of a pet, together with other signs such as feeding bowls or beds and pet hair on upholstery. Look for scratched carpets and scratches on doors and door frames.
If tenants have breached a no smoking condition, the smell of cigarettes may be obvious, as it tends to cling to curtains and soft furnishings. Be extra wary if the tenants are using strong air fresheners because these can be an attempt to block the scent. Left unchecked, the use of tobacco inside a property will cause staining on walls and ceilings which is difficult to remove.
The inspection is also a good chance to check that the tenant is not breaching other terms of the agreement. If you let a one bedroom property, for example, to a single person then extra mattresses and bedding may indicate that in breach of your agreement the property is being used by a family. The property may be used commercially when the tenancy agreement specifies only residential use, too.
Tenants are usually obliged to keep any outdoor areas let to them tidy and free of rubbish. A check of the garden or yard will reveal whether this is being complied with. If there is an accumulation of rubbish, it should be cleared before it leads to vermin infestation.
Sadly, not all tenants treat their rental properties well. It is important if properties are not to deteriorate and require intensive cleaning and redecoration after checkout that tenants clean effectively and regularly. The inspection will show whether or not the property is being kept clean.
Finally, although it is more unusual than the other issues we have highlighted, it is possible that your inspection of a property might reveal illegal uses. Watch out for drug taking equipment, or signs of a drug farm such as power cables being laid into the loft. Make sure that you check loft and attic spaces.
Hopefully, regular inspections of your property will mean that any of the above issues which are revealed are easily and simply addressed. Whatever the results of your inspection, make sure that you keep full and detailed records as you may need these in the future.
InventoryBase property inspection software makes keeping records and setting calendar reminders for property inspections simple and straightforward.