Carrying out Mid-Tenancy checks: What you Need to Know
As a landlord, carrying out mid-tenancy inspections of your properties is not the most glamorous of tasks, and yet it is something that you should never, ever miss out on. Yes, producing a mid-tenancy report takes up a small amount of time, and if you have a lot of properties, it can seem as though you spend half your life doing them, but even so they are essential.
There are two chief reasons for carrying out mid-term inspections. They help you to spot any maintenance issues, which may often go unreported by the tenant. This may be because the tenant has either not noticed them or just not bothered to report them. The other reason is that they help you to identify tenants who are not following the terms of the tenancy. If it is the latter, you may well not want to renew the tenancy at the end of the term.
Of course, if you have several properties, you may wish to appoint a letting agent to look after them. OK, this will eat into your rental income, but at the same time it saves you all the bother that goes with sourcing new tenants, checking them out, collecting the rent, carrying out check-in, check-out and interim inspections, chasing up the tenants when they fall behind, and if all else fails, carrying out evictions. You may well consider this is a useful trade-off.
If you are going to do all this yourself, then there are things that you need to know if you are a new landlord. The main purpose of an inspection is to evaluate the overall condition of your property and check that everything is in good working order, also noting any damage that may have occurred. It also provides you with the chance to check how your tenant is getting on.
There is also a third point, and that is that it gives you a chance to chat to your tenants and get to know them. This can go a long way towards preserving a good relationship between landlord and tenant – and a happy tenant is one who is likely to stay rather than up sticks and move on.
There are a couple of points of law to note here. You have to give the tenant 24 hours’ notice, or more, in writing, and the inspection must be carried out at a “reasonable” time. If someone other than yourself or your agent is going to carry out the inspection, they must have written authorisation.
Primarily, a mid-tenancy report gives you the chance to spot and repair a minor fault before it gets out of hand and becomes a major job with all the extra expense involved. It is worth noting that many tenants won’t bother to report a minor issue until it evolves into a greater one and potentially costing a lot more to repair. Annoying, but that is just the way it often is. Furthermore, it may just be that in some cases the tenant just doesn’t notice something.
What Should You Be Looking For?/b>
Often in a Buy-to-Let (BTL), one of the major issues can often be damp and mould. These can often be overlooked as “just one of those things” by a tenant because they don’t realise how serious it can be. Point out to the tenant that keeping bathroom windows ajar whilst showering will go a long way to reducing damp. You should also run all the taps and check for leaks because these can be a major cause of mould and damp. It is also a good idea to check the drains outside to see that they are flowing correctly.
Obviously, you need to check the smoke alarms, carbon-monoxide and heat detectors to ensure that they are functioning. You should check the condition of fittings and white goods, and anything else that you provide with the property such as furnishings, curtains, window blinds, and so on. It is also well worthwhile to check the loft if there is one, and you have proper access to it as it has not been unknown for rodents to set up home there.
You also need to check that the garden is in reasonable condition and not full of weeds and the lawn a foot high, which could annoy the neighbours. Check that gutters and downpipes are OK, and that the exterior of the property is in at least reasonable condition.
Most tenants want to live a quiet and peaceful life and will be happy to let you carry out your inspections. At the same time, you have to respect their rights as well.
Dan, 03 December 2021
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