How Landlords Run an Inspection of The Property?

The Property Must be Inspected by the Landlord!

What is a property inspection?

Let’s start from the top before we drive you into the depths of property inspections and most importantly their necessity. The primary purpose of the landlord’s property inspection is to evaluate the overall condition of the property. It gives you the right to assure that everything is in good working order and reasonable state. This concerns both the interior and exterior. It’s also the perfect opportunity to check if your tenants are decent human beings with proper behaviour or in other words – to make sure the people, whom you’ve decided to trust with your precious property, are not some kind of twisted manlike primates.

It’s normal to conduct a property inspection not more often than on a quarterly basis. Often this time period is reduced to bi-yearly after frequent positive inspections of the same property/tenants, of course.

Always have in mind that if your tenants feel like you’re making unnecessary visits too frequently, they could file a complaint, and the things definitely won’t turn out well for you.

That’s why you should never excess your rights. Like we’ve already said, if you’re making too many inspections (e.g. once a month) your strictness may be deemed as harassment and trust us – you really don’t want to go there.

The only exception to this simple rule is if there are urgent repairs and maintenance issues that need attention (but why would you let your property if it’s in a poor condition and who will rent such a place).


What is a Property Inspection

Inspection notice before visiting the property

Should I serve my tenants some sort of Inspection notice before visiting my rented property? Yes, it IS necessary to provide one to your tenant before visiting your property, because you know – The Law says so. To be precise: The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s11 says that the landlord “may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair”. Or in plain English:

  • The inspection must be conducted at a reasonable time of the day
  • The landlord/agent must give 24 hours written notice, before entering the property
  • If someone other than the landlord or agent is going to do the inspection, then that person should be authorized in writing

Do you need to give a 24 hours notice if there’s an emergency?

What if there’s an emergency - do you still have to give a 24 hours notice and get permission from the tenant? In some emergency situations, as the rightful owner of the property and the legal landlord, you have the right of entry without having to give your tenants a notice or to obtain their permission. However, this is lawfully allowed only, if a serious emergency occurs such as a life-threatening situation or a risk that severe damage may be caused to the property. For example, that could be:

  • a fire in the property;
  • a certain smell of gas coming from the property;
  • a structural damage requiring urgent attention; or
  • If the property is flooded.

With that said, a landlord/lady would be well-advised to apply to the court for an injunction to enter the property, if the tenant isn’t giving him/her permission to enter the property. If the tenant has unreasonably refused you access, your costs of doing so may be recoverable from them and this falls within your licensed rights as a landlord.

The tenants' refusal will also reduce their entitlement to make a claim for damages for disrepair or for any personal injuries caused by it. Altogether this exposes themselves to a potential claim for loss suffered by the landlord/lady as a consequence of him/her being unable to prevent further deterioration or damage to the property. This may result in monies being deducted from the deposit.


Always Request a Property Inspection!

Maintainance issues, when the tenants don't allow you access

Can my tenants sue me for not maintaining the property, even though the reason is that they will not allow me access? According to the law and your obligations as a landlord, you should take all reasonable measures to maintain the property in the best possible way, carry out any repairs, especially the ones which can be considered as a life-threatening.

If you have made all reasonable endeavours to obtain permission and carry out the works that the tenant may sue you for, you are likely to receive a defence to those proceedings. NB! If you have any doubts, whether you have a right to access the property, or you can not obtain an express permission from your tenant, it’s best to take legal advice and consult with a lawyer.


What if the tenant denies you access to your property?

Let’s start with another question- What does the law say about this issue? Under Common Law, all tenants are entitled to live in so-called “quiet enjoyment”, which means that the landlord/agent (or anyone on behalf of either) must receive the tenant’s permission before entering the premises.

If the landlord or the agent enters without permission, it could be deemed as trespassing and harassment (as we already said, the only exception for “forceful entry” is if there is an emergency).

But what if permission is refused, even when the landlord/agent has served a notice and is willing to arrange a suitable time for the tenant? You could (and should) write to your tenants, and remind them they will be liable for damages if you’re impeded of making necessary repairs and maintaining the property properly.

If your tenant still refuses to give you access, you may want to reconsider renewing the tenancy, when the fixed term comes to an end, or serve a Section 21 possession notice, which will result in your tenant vacating the property at the end of the tenancy.

However, you cannot use this as a reason to serve a Section 8 notice which would achieve the result much faster.


Don't forget about The Home Inspection

Why you should definitely care about conducting property inspections?

Mostly the reasons don’t go further than common sense but still here’s a list of them if you’re not quite into visiting your property from time to time:

The inspection offers you the opportunity to spot any repairs and maintenance issues that need to be taken care of. It’s always better to solve the problems at their early stages, before they spiral out of control and become major repairs, which requires a lot from both your time and your money.

Now is the perfect time to assess the living conditions of your tenants. While the condition of the property might be generally sound, it doesn’t necessarily mean your tenants are keeping the property in good order. Even if that bothers you (no matter how hard), it is not considered as a reason to start an eviction process. At least you’ll have the right to reconsider renewing this particular tenancy when the fixed term comes to an end.

Well-well-well, even if you haven’t watched too much of Sherlock or Criminal Minds series, there’s still a chance that you’ve just let your property to a Real criminal. And even though it might sound dangerous, it’s still better to know what exactly is going on, so do your property inspection for God’s sake.

Your ever flowing monthly rent may bring you a sense of complacency but unfortunately, this comes at a price and sometimes you’re caught in the middle of some sort of criminal activity. Just think about it – the most destructive tenants are proven to be the best payers – and there’s solid logic in this statement, because they’re going to keep everything in perfect order to keep you away from the property itself.

The cases of BTL properties transformed into cannabis farms are constantly growing and we’re pretty sure that this one is just the tip of the iceberg.

Long story short – do your property inspection even if your tenant seems to be really decent and strict kind of guy (or probably especially then).

Visiting your property can and will help you to build a relationship with your tenants (and we don’t mean an intimate one).The right attitude will open many doors (and probably windows maybe even in your spare time) when it comes to interrelation, and that’s good because it makes things much more simple. Building trust is an important thing and will definitely spare you some bothers and worries in the long run.

The chances are that your tenants have paid you some cash in advance, before the tenancy agreement was signed from both sides, or in other words, you’re part of the government approved deposit scheme. This definitely is some kind of insurance if your property is somehow damaged, when your tenants fly off the place, still you can always get some extra insurance. It’s totally up to you and depends on your ability to trust people in general.


Why you should Conducting Property Inspections?

A property inventory and a landlord’s inspection

Said in simple English - the inventory and schedule of condition is a very detailed document (or full list) of every item within the property and is often supported by digital photographs. The detailed descriptions and photographs can easily run to 40 or 50 pages or be limited to just a few – it’s up to you and your level of pedantry. Still, have in mind that this may be some sort of official documentation and needs to be able to stand up in court (we hope that this will never happen but you should know to do it the right way just in case).

After all, an inventory is often the only document landlords have at their disposal if there’s a need to withhold money from the deposit for replacements, repairs and cleaning. We’ve drawn this Landlord Property Inventory for you. {button pdf} The list includes (but is not limited to):

  • walls
  • ceilings
  • flooring
  • fixtures and fittings
  • paint colours
  • floor coverings
  • cupboards
  • windows
  • doors
  • kitchen units and appliances
  • bathrooms
  • furniture
  • gardens
  • garages
  • sheds etc.
  • if furnished, all furnished items.

Property Inspection Checklist

Inventory management reports should include:

  • inventory (listing every item) and a detailed description of its condition
  • agreement of the inventory by the tenant’s signature
  • the date and time of your periodic visits according to the tenancy agreement obligations
  • dilapidation reports, (if needed) which should determine change, damage, cleanliness, missing items, maintenance or simply general wear and tear

According to the government deposit schemes recommendations, the landlord is good to have these types of evidence:

  • A robust tenancy agreement that refers to the inventory
  • Clear, detailed and professional inventory and schedule of condition
  • Tenant’s signature on the check-in inventory
  • A comprehensive check-out report
  • Proof of an impartial check-in and check-out process and audit trail
  • Reports provided in text format with photos and/or video footage as supporting evidence
  • Records of receipts, invoices, estimates, quotes and cleaning charges
  • Records of all communication

Inventory Management Report

Can I take photos during an inspection?

We’re sorry to inform you that the answer is No. However, with the new protection from eviction legislation (known as Retaliatory Eviction) passed last year as part of The Deregulation Act, a landlord would be within the right to take photographic evidence, if upon inspection a landlord finds:

  • signs of unauthorised occupiers or pets
  • unauthorised decorating and painting
  • insufficient cleaning and a build-up of refuse which may lead to vermin infestations

Photos During The Inspection?

Some words about The End of Tenancy Final Inspection

This last visit is known as the check-out. And now is the time for the critical final report, prepared at the property on the last day of the tenancy. It will define if there’re any costs that need to be recovered from the deposit and their value.

The list stays the same as in the conduction of a regular property inspection, however, you should be aware more than ever and keep your eyes wide open for any small (and big) details unnoticeable at first sight. For more information, you can check out our Landlords End of Tenancy Guide.

Ok, now when you know why the property inspections are far beyond advisable, let us help you with the “What should I look for during my occasionally visit?” list.

Even though this can be quite subjective, since you’re in charge and the one with the define priorities, there’s still a common ground, which goes beyond checking the general condition of the interior and exterior of your rented property. Let’s start with:


The Final End of Tenancy Inspection

Dampness & mould

Damp and mould are among the most significant issues to pay special attention to, as the tenants often disregard them. The reason for that is that most people underestimate how risky and even dangerous a serious mould infestation can be or simply don’t want to bother with such “minor” issues – that’s not their property, after all.

That’s why You should be aware. Always check the windows and sinks, and pay special attention to rooms prone to moisture, such as the bathroom and the kitchen. Don’t forget to closely inspect the pipework hidden in kitchen units, and ensure that all extractor fans work – this will help to prevent mould infestations in the future.


Leaks

Check for leaks by running all the taps. Leaks can be one of the primary causes of mould infestations and rot, which can (and will) affect the condition of the property and even the health of your tenants as well.Don’t forget to revise the drainage outside for blockages and ensure that water is not overflowing.


Fixtures and fittings

Look carefully around all the fittings, including toilets, white goods and everything else that you are providing with the property, to check if they are in good condition and suitable working order.


Condition of garden

Most tenancy agreements come with clauses, specifying that it’s the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the garden.So you should check if the garden is neat, well-kept, and free from unwanted wildlife.


Lofts & attics

Get a torch and carefully look for any leaks, holes or rodents since it’s very unlike your tenant to do that instead.


Legal Check

This one is a total must since, even the law states that the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should work properly, since you’re the one liable for ensuring that your property is legally compliant and a safe place for your tenants to live. After all, this kind of malfunction may cause harm to your tenant’s health and safety, not to mention your property as well.

Essential checks include:

  • Testing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they’re fully in order
  • Ensuring all heating, water and electricity supplies are working properly
  • Make sure that all fire exit routes are clear of furniture and easily accessible

Have in mind that the smoke alarms often get clogged with dust or dirt, so remove the covers and give them a quick clean, you know, just in case.


Fair wear and tear

This is a tricky one not only during your periodic property inspections but at the end of the signed contract as well. Actually, it’s quite normal such dilemma to occur, since landlords will always try to put as many things as possible in the damage column and the tenants, on the other hand, will try to mark the damage that occurred during their stay as “fair wear and tear”, since otherwise, this would result in burning hole in their pocket, because they’ll certainly lose some money from their deposit.

The fine line between both doesn’t make the situation any easier to handle, so you should rely mostly on common sense and on the friendly relationship, which we hope that you and your tenants have developed by now.


Fair Wear and Tear or Damage

Letting agents and Inspections

If you’ve chosen the option to have some more spare time and have entrusted the management of your property to a letting agent, the general practice is for them to conduct the periodic property inspections on your behalf. No matter what their paycheck is, never trust them fully and make sure that they’re actually running the inspections (not just saying so) by requiring proof.


Breaches to the tenancy agreement

This one is tricky and hard to be noticed as well, since your tenants will surely try to hide if they're doing something they shouldn't – smoking in the property or allowing a pet in, for example. So sharpen your senses and pay close attention to any suspicious smell or hair on the coach.


Add Inspection clause in The Tenancy Agreement

It’s always a good idea to have one in your contract. This would give you some sort of extra protection in case of any unpleasant surprises, that you may find in your beloved but rented property. Plus, this will give you the certainty that your tenants are well aware of your duties, including periodic property inspections.


Still have in mind that

No matter how hard you’ve tried, there’s always a chance your home to be left in poor and miserable condition and that’s where we come out from the shadows ready to shine under the spotlight by making your home bright and clean in a blink of an eye.

You can get your quote right away or get in touch with our friendly customer care team by calling 01865 570870. We’re certain that our colleges can answer all of your questions and offer you a tremendous offer, which will meet even your highest standards.


Bright and Clean

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