Everything you need to know about carrying out a lawful andย effective property inspection.

Regular periodic inspections are crucial to ensure your property remains safe, well-maintained and tenanted with happy tenants.

Inspections are as much for your tenants as they are for you so make sure to be open-minded and listen to their questions and concerns. Not only does this mean that you are likely to get more information from them but they feel heard and trust you, building up a better long-term relationship.

The other key is to make them often but not at a level that could be deemed harassing. We recommend visiting the property within the first 6 months after move in and then either bi-annually or annually after that. Once you have trust in your tenant and have built a relationship, annual inspections are usually fine but you should make the decision based on your relationship and property condition.

Below I have listed all the things you need to do and keep in mind when arranging and carrying out a property inspection to ensure you remain within the law and get the most out of the appointment.

โœ”๏ธ 24 Hours Notice is a MUST:

โšˆ Legally you must give 24 hours notice before attempting to enter the property. We would suggest that you do this in writing so that you also have proof should there be any dispute about this.

โšˆ If your tenant refuses to allow access for whatever reason, you CANNOT enter. Usually this will be because your tenant is ill or not available, in which case this can be re-arranged. If your tenant does not give a reason or is continually refusing entry, you still legally cannot enter. This may be because there is something they do not want you to see but the only way to move forward would be to get a court order to enter.

โœ”๏ธHow to Document the Inspection:

โšˆย  Take photos, and videos where applicable, of everything in the property from full room photos to individual areas and close ups of any damage.

โšˆ Write descriptions and notes on the condition and cleanliness of each room making sure to use descriptive terms that you can compare to the original inventory.

โšˆ Keep it all together in one report or document, ideally in a format that matches the inventory and move out report for easy comparison.

โœ”๏ธWhat to Look For and What to Do:

Internally:

โšˆ Any noticeable damage that has occurred since the inventory or last inspection.

โšˆ Test appliances to ensure all are safe and in working order.

โšˆ Damp or mould, especially in high moisture areas like the kitchen or bathroom - Use this time to remind your tenants on the best living practices to avoid this and clean it up if it does occur.

โšˆย  All pipes and plumbing to check for any weakness that could lead to or is currently causing leaks.

โšˆ Go into the loft and basements.

โšˆ Look for signs of pests and potential entry points for pests.

โšˆ Address any safety responsibilities that you have as a landlord such as annual gas safety certificates and electrical safety certificates; if they are due to expire soon, the inspection can be a good time to arrange those with the tradesman and tenant.

โšˆ Breaches of tenancy such as subletting or illegal activity. Also have a good look around if your tenancy says no pets or smoking, make sure you have kept an eye out for clues such as ash trays, food and water bowls etc...

Externally

โšˆ Safety issues with decking, patios, obstructions, gates etc...

โšˆ Is the tenant keeping up with any pre-agreed garden maintenance.

โšˆ Check over the pointing and brickwork.

โšˆ Look at the roof and gutters for any signs of weakness or debris that is stuck and could result in blockages.

โšˆ Check the drains are clear and external plumbing is working as it should be.

โœ”๏ธFollow through:

โšˆ Following the inspection, follow through with any of the issues raised to ensure they are resolved in a timely manor and keep evidence of the work carried out including photos where possible.

โšˆ Keep to set expectations- If you told your tenant you would send them the report or get work done at a certain time or date, try your best to stick to those timeframes to further enhance your relationship with your tenant.

By keeping up with these practices on a regular basis you are putting yourself in the best position to remain legally compliant and protected, have a great relationship with your tenant and get the best out of your investment.