In the case of a dispute, rental property inventory reports provide crucial evidence and help avoid conflict with your tenants. If a tenant disputes charges for damage to a rental property, if the landlord has an inventory report signed by the tenant, this should prevent the dispute from going any further.
Inventory reports and inspections are vital to the lettings process, and agents and landlords cannot afford to ignore these tasks. But what are your rights as a landlord to inspect your rental properties?
Legally, if a landlord agrees to a tenancy, they are providing the tenant with exclusive possession of the property, subject to the rights of entry which the landlord reserves. If the landlord enters the property without gaining permission from the tenant, unless they are in their right to do so, it is classed as trespass, which means that the tenant can take legal action and claim compensation.
Access to the property can only be permitted in one of two ways; by right of access according to the law or by a provision within the tenancy agreement. According to the Landlord & Tenant Act, Section 11 states that only authorised people or the landlord have the right to analyse the state of repair and view the property. They can also conduct any necessary repair works, but in both instances, tenants must be provided with at least 24 hours notice given in writing and arranged for a reasonable time during the day.
If the tenant refuses entry to the landlord to conduct necessary repairs, then the tenant is effectively reducing their entitlement for any claim for personal injury or damages which could be caused by disrepair. The tenant is also exposing themselves to potential claims for losses incurred by the landlord as a direct consequence of them being able to prevent any further damage or deterioration occurring to the property. This could result in funds being deducted from the tenant’s deposit.
A visit to the rental property provides a landlord or their representative with the opportunity to ensure that the home is being fully looked after to the standard agreed within the tenancy agreement, and that important requirements continue to be met.
There are strict laws on how landlords are able to enter the property, in addition to conducting the inspection at a reasonable time, and providing the tenant with a minimum of 24 hours notice in writing. If a professional is conducting the inspection on behalf of the agent or landlord, then they must have the authorisation to do so in writing.
Landlords should send the tenant a written letter by post, preferably tracked and with proof of postage. It is also wise to follow up the letter with a text message or email, which ensures that the tenant cannot claim that the letter was simply lost in the post.
Many tenancy agreements will also set out the dates for the letting agent or landlord to inspect the property and to conduct an annual safety check for gas appliances. Provisions may also be set out which allow the landlord to guide prospective tenants around the property during the last month of the agreed tenancy, after providing the current tenant with written notice.
It is wise for landlords to conduct routine visits to rental properties in order to monitor their investments and to reassure tenants that they are interested in their living conditions and want to be sure that they are happy. Tenants are also far more likely to care for the property well if the landlord or agent demonstrates a level of responsibility to the home.
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