Periodic inspections of your property are just as important for landlords as the inventory check at the start of the tenancy. Done properly, a periodic property inspection or mid-term inspection, will help you to keep track of the state and condition of the property and allow you to have any issues put right before they become a bigger problem.
Why carry out a periodic property inspection?
Periodic inspections help to give you early warning of any potential problems. Many repair issues can be fixed quickly, simply and cheaply if they are caught at an early stage. Knowing that a periodic inspection is due should ensure that responsible tenants attend to any issues which are their responsibility as soon as possible, rather than leaving them until the end of their tenancy.
Not all tenants treat rental properties well and, again, a periodic inspection will give the landlord and/or their agent early notice of potential problems. Carrying out regular inspections helps landlords discharge their statutory duties relating to the state and safety of the property.
It is usual to carry out inspections at least annually. Some landlords may wish to carry out an inspection fairly close to the beginning of a tenancy for a new and untested tenant, and once a relationship has been built up with a long term tenant, inspections may take place at longer intervals.
What should I look out for when I inspect a property?
The most obvious thing to look out for is any repair and maintenance issues. You would hope that tenants would report these, but in some cases, they either fail to notice until something has become a bigger problem or they leave it until later than would be ideal to let the landlord or letting agent know. With issues such as damp and mould, it is best to address the root cause as soon as possible before significant damage is done. It is invariably cheaper and less disruptive to fix issues of this type as soon as they arise.
Looking at the state and repair of the property in a little more detail, it is sensible to check for any leaks in the water and drainage systems. Even a small leak can cause huge amounts of damage if it is not put right quickly. Drainage, in particular, can create insidious issues with the permeation of foul water into the fabric of the property or, worse still, neighbouring properties.
Landlords will want to check the general state of the property – are tenants looking after it well? This can serve to indicate whether there are likely to be problems on handover of the property at the end of the tenancy.
Similarly, check the state of the garden. Tenants are usually required to keep the garden under control and if this does not happen, rubbish can cost a great deal to remove, and may give rise to potential problems with pests.
You should also check the state of kitchen and bathroom fittings. Are all the kitchen appliances working correctly? Is the oven kept clean? Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are still fitted and functioning correctly. Don’t forget to check fire safety generally – are fire exits kept clear, for example?
Many landlords do not allow pets in their properties due to the damage that dogs and cats, in particular, can cause to carpets, doors and other fittings.
The inspection gives you the chance to check whether the tenant is adhering to any terms of the tenancy agreement concerning pets. In more extreme cases landlords may find that tenants are breaching other terms of their tenancy, for example by subletting or carrying out illegal activities.
Once the inspection has taken place, it is vital to record your findings. If the property remains in a good condition then this should be recorded, as should any evidence of damage or deterioration.
The innovative property inspection app from InventoryBase is the ideal tool for quickly creating all the onsite records of a property inspection required by landlords and agents. You can create custom reports and obtain signatures from the tenant to record their agreement. An agreed condition report will be vital to avoid disputes at the end of the tenancy.