How to do a Condition Report for your BTL
When you are a landlord and own several different properties, one of the most time-consuming, but nonetheless essential tasks is that you have to carry out is a condition report report for your properties.
Not only do you need to do this before a tenant moves in, and again when they move out, but you also need to undertake these inspections on an ongoing basis during the tenancy. This is for two main reasons.
First, it enables you to see how well - or otherwise – your tenant is taking care of your property, and second, it also enables you to spot things which might have gone wrong which the tenant either has not noticed or hasn’t reported. For example, there may be a damp patch on a wall, or there could be a leaking tap, and if you can fix things early on before they become a major issue, then you can save a lot of money on more expensive repairs later on.
Another thing that interim inspections will do is enable you to spot any illegal activities that may be going on. You may have a tenant who pays the rent bang on time every time, and yet that tenant could be using your property outside the terms of the tenancy by having more occupants, for example. They may be a perfect payee but you may not be aware of the breach.
There is another benefit of making interim inspections, and that is that it enables you to build up a good rapport with your tenant. A good relationship with the tenant is valuable and may lead to a longer tenancy saving you the hassle of tenancy voids.
The problem with carrying out all these checks and reports is the sheer amount of time that they take. If you only have a single property, it is not too much of an issue, but if you have several, it can seem as though you are spending your life doing little else than checking your properties.
For these mid-term, interim or periodic reports, you first need to make an appointment with your tenant. The tenant is entitled to 24 hours’ notice in writing, and the inspection must be carried out at “reasonable” hours. Interim inspections are typically carried out on a quarterly basis, although some landlords only do them every six months. You may also wish to extend the time between inspections if your tenant is looking after the property and everything is in good order.
What To Look For
So, what should you be looking for? Basically, everything covering the terms of the tenancy and the state of the fabric of the property. You are responsible throughout the tenancy for the general liveability of the property e.g., the heating, plumbing, external drains etc. One of the other important things is damp and mould. This is something that tenants often tend to live with because they don’t realise just how serious and dangerous mould can be. You need to check around sinks, basins, baths, and showers, and also check the pipework under the kitchen sink. Running the taps and checking for leaks is another thing, as is checking the drains to make sure they are not blocked.
It is also a good idea to check lofts in case rodents have set up home! You must also check that smoke and heat alarms are working correctly.
In addition, you should check any fittings such as white goods or electrical equipment, curtains, and carpets, that you have also let with the property. However, note that there can be a fine line between damage and fair wear and tear, and of course, you are not allowed to charge the tenant for the latter.
Our free inventory app includes an excellent survey-based mid-term inspection report that is quick to complete and covers all the essentials with special sections for tenant comments and a maintenance checklist.
Panos, 01 October 2021
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