Mid-term Inspections of your BTL are Essential
As a landlord you have many things on your plate, but one of the most important is an inventory report which is the inspection report at the point when a new tenant moves in. Many landlords also couple it with a check-in report. The inventory report is usually carried out a few days ahead of the moving in date. The check-in report builds on the inventory to make up any differences that may have emerged in the intervening days. For example, the meter readings may have moved on a bit. Both or one on itself should detail the condition of everything at the point the tenant arrives. It would be ideal if the inventory is carried out, if possible, with the tenant present but this is not always possible and less so in the current circumstances.
Given that it may not be possible to carry out the inventory report with the tenant present, then they must be given a copy of the report when moving in and allowed a few days – usually a week – to agree with the report and sign it. If the tenant does not agree with the inventory, they are also entitled to add any notes. So, for example, there may be a scratch on the paintwork on a door which has been missed when you carried out the inventory and which the tenant is entitled to point out so that it cannot be attributed to them later on.
Of course, the initial inventory + check-in report is not the beginning and the end of things. You also need to carry out mid-term inspections of your property, and while these will be an overhead, they are nonetheless essential. They allow you, as a landlord, to identify maintenance issues, and they also allow you to check on the progress of the tenancy as per the agreement.
How often should you carry out mid-term inspections? Well, there is no strict rule, and it varies from one landlord, or letting agent, to another. Some people say every quarter, others every six months, while some landlords haven’t carried out mid-term inspections for over a year because of the pandemic. The most important thing is to get the frequency right. Perhaps, you can start with the first after three months spreading out to six-monthly intervals.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s11 gives the landlord the right to enter the premises to view the “condition and state of repair”. The main points of this are that the inspection must be carried out at reasonable times of the day and the landlord or letting agent must give 24 hours’ notice in writing to the tenant. It is also permissible for someone other than the landlord or agent to carry out the inspection, and in this case that individual must be authorised in writing.
First and foremost, a regular interim inspection gives you the chance to spot any minor issues before they become major ones. Unfortunately, your tenants won’t always notify you about something small that has occurred. Sometimes this is because they don’t want to seem a nuisance, even though not reporting something could lead to an expensive issue. Furthermore, it may well be that your tenant simply doesn’t notice something, and therefore is unable to report it.
An interim or mid-term inspection also lives you the chance to assess the way that your tenant lives, and this may affect what you wish to do when the fixed term of the tenancy comes to an end.
On top of that, by having a regular meeting with your tenant it enables you to develop a line of communication with them and this has to be a good thing.
Of course, all of these inspections, whether at check-in or mid-term, need to be recorded accurately, and the simplest way to do that today is to use the free app that we provide at Reports2Go. You download it from Google Play or The App Store to your mobile or tablet, and instead of making written notes you can simply enter your comments as you go through your property. It is so much easier than making handwritten notes, and the app also prompts you with reminders as you go, so that you don’t miss anything.
Panos, 04 June 2021
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