The Importance of a Property Inventory and Inspection
Property inspections are an essential part of letting for a landlord. You want to know how well your tenants are looking after what is, after all, your investment.
As a tenant, they will also want to feel safe, know that they are in safe surroundings. This is why an inventory is also important. Having a clear inventory list and regular inspections are vital for running a mutually beneficial and successful tenant/landlord relationship. Here’s why:
Be clear. Know what is yours and what is theirs. That is the best way to put it, and the best place to have this is, of course, in the tenancy agreement. Make sure you outline exactly what you own within the property before the tenancy agreement is signed so that if any damage befalls any of your property, you won’t be the one having to pay for it. If the tenant causes the damage, it should not be your responsibility to pay for the result.
A clear, factual report in the tenancy agreement is therefore essential to ensure that you are not paying for any more than you should be. Another section of this tenancy agreement should be an inspection clause.
Obviously, to spot any damage that has been financially inflicted on your property you will need to find them. Typically, three-months is a good schedule to stick to when organising regular inspections. It is often enough to spot any damage before it costs you more than it should, but isn’t so frequent that your tenants don’t feel like they have their own lives.
If you are buying a place to rent out, an inspection is even more essential so you don’t run into any long-term problems which could result in complications.
Your tenants are required generally to have at least a 24-hour notice ahead of your arrival. You can inspect the property as much as you want, whether that’s every month or every six months, but what is important is that your tenants have this 24-hour notice ahead of time. This is stated in Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985.
Why conduct an inspection?
- Identify any maintenance or safety issues
- Maintain relationship with tenant in the form of trust and concern for their safety
- Prepare for future tenants/viewings
- Spot any other possibly illegal situations
What to look for
Interior, exterior, inventory. It should all be properly checked for safety as well as everyone’s peace of mind. Here’s a brief checklist you can use for reference, but we’d recommend going off of your tenancy agreement inventory as well.
- Smoke/Fire alarms
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Fire escapes
- Signs of pets (if pets aren’t allowed in the property)
These are all things you should take a look at when inspecting your property. What you don’t need to take note of is general mess or clutter. Your tenants are paying for the living space, so they should be able to live how they want in that space, regardless of whether it is messy or not.
But, make sure that the boundaries are clear. Outline which parts of the property are yours and how much each specific part will cost if damaged. If the messiness looks like it could get to a point where it begins to cause damage to the property, or at least has the potential to do so, then perhaps give your tenants a warning by reminding them that they will be the ones that have to pay.
How to conduct an inspection properly
Be thorough. Check every room/area one-by-one and take photos for future reference in case of any disputes. Make notes and methodically go through a checklist, maybe one derivative of the tenancy agreement to make it easier.
Once you have concluded your inspection, discuss the outcome with your tenants. Tell them what problems there are (if there are any) and inform them how long any repairs may take and when they should expect them to take place.
We would also advise you to create a property inspection form as a formal way of proving that you did an inspection on the property the day that you did it and this was what you found. Have all your tenants read and sign the form and keep it for future reference.
We understand that this can be a bit overwhelming! You are also a busy person, and if you own multiple properties, you don’t have time to carry out several, correctly conducted inspections. Which is why we are here to help.
Our vastly experienced experts can carry out a full property inspection on your behalf. If you’re a landlord and you need your house or flat inspected let us know on 01249 443 278 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.