A checklist for property inspections is extremely useful for letting agents and landlords. A checklist guides agents on what must be assessed, as each property is different, making it easy to make a mistake in an inspection.
Inspections are a crucial aspect of being a property manager or letting agent. If landlords fail to ensure that a property rental inspection has taken place, any small issues can be missed and become larger problems. It is also important to ensure that tenants are aware of what the inspection includes, any issues that have been raised and what is expected.
The legal requirements for landlords during a property inspection are clear, and focus particularly around the health and safety of tenants. Landlords must ensure that any smoke alarms installed in the property are in good working order, in addition to working electricity, water and heating systems. The electrics in the property must be safe for use, as well as access to escape routes being clear and suitable for human use. Carbon monoxide detectors must also be installed and working properly.
Secondly, during the inspection it is important to check for any tenancy agreement breaches and illegal activity which could be taking place in the property. Some activity can be difficult to spot, but letting agents and landlords should search for clues of smoking and unauthorised pets, which could be discovered by smell or signs of staining.
It is also important to look for any signs of subletting and the farming of illegal substances, which can be detrimental to your rental property.
Landlords and letting agents must also check the rental property for any hazards to sanitation and health, including leaks or faulty plumbing, blocked drains and mould or damp. These can all create big problems, so it is vital that regular inspections are carried out in order to protect your rental property. Also check for signs of pests such as rats and insects, which can cause issues for your property as well as your tenants.
While conducting a property inspection, also search for any clues of faulty equipment or damage, in particular to the loft, handrails and furniture. Also, thoroughly inspect the walls, floors, windows and doors for any structural damage which could be dangerous if left unresolved.
There are a number of things you must do before conducting an inspection. Firstly, as a landlord you must give your tenants notice, which must be at least 24 hours. Tenants can then be present if they wish, as property inspections can often feel intrusive to renters.
If the tenant does not agree to the inspection, a landlord or agent must not enter the rental property, as this can be perceived as harassment. The only time a landlord or agent can access a property without consent is during an emergency.
If a tenant refuses entry, the landlord must firstly write to their tenant and explain that they are liable for damages if the landlord cannot arrange the necessary repairs. You can then remind them that inspections are required to ensure that the property remains in a safe condition.
Lastly, if the tenant still refuses, you can evict the tenant using a Section 21 Notice, with the contract drawing to an end.
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