New to Letting? What you should know about Property Reports
When you rent out property to tenants as living accommodation, it is necessary to accept that the property will not be in the same condition at the end of the tenancy as it was at the beginning. Over time, things wear out, particularly carpets, but if you let a property furnished there will be wear and tear to your other furniture, and your fixtures and fittings. This is classed as fair wear and tear and is part of the overheads of property letting.
Fair wear and tear is also associated with the quality of furnishing you have provided. For example, a low-quality synthetic fibre bedroom carpet cannot be expected to last more than 3 or 4 years. Whereas a high-quality wool carpet may be expected to last 20 years. So ‘fair’ wear in both cases needs to be relative to the quality of the materials.
In the case of wear and tear you can come to a cost above and beyond the natural by making a judgment as to where the fixture is in its expected lifetime vs. the state as at now. So, for example, if a new carpet costing £500 is expected to last 5 years and after one year of tenancy needs replacing, the cost chargeable to the tenant is £400 as one year’s worth of use needs to be take out regardless of needing a totally new carpet. You can get professional help in assessing how much to deduct for more complex situations.
Apart from wear and tear, your tenants will be liable for damage to the property, items that have been lost, and breakages, possibly caused by the tenants’ negligence, carelessness, misuse, and in some instances, deliberate damage. In that case, the tenant will be liable for the cost of repairs or making good, and this is why the tenancy deposit scheme is in place as it offers landlords some protection from the action.
These are some of the reasons why you need to undertake a property inventory at the beginning of the tenancy, and perform mid-term inspections at intervals throughout, and at the end of the tenancy. You also need to check for things that the tenant may not have reported, or noticed, such as perhaps an electrical socket becoming loose, damp on a wall, and so on. This enables you to undertake any repair work that might need doing before it gets out of hand and finishes up costing a lot more.
If you are a new landlord letting out your first property it may be that you have purchased it as an investment, or possibly inherited. There is a fair bit to do in managing your property, tenants and following the required legislation.
Some of the basic are easily done by yourself, for example, the cycle of property reports starting with an inventory just before letting the property. Then following that up with a check-in report on the start of the tenancy. By doing it this way both you and the tenant can agree on the condition of everything.
When you have completed your check-in report it get a copy signed by the tenant. Give your tenant an opportunity to update the document within 5 or so working days of the start of tenancy.
Undertaking inventory can be tricky if you have never done it before, and this is why you may want to use the free app that we provide at Reports2Go to create a free property inventory report. You can download the app to your mobile or tablet from the App Store or from Google Play.
This has several advantages, not the least of which is that it takes you systematically through all that you need to cover in a property including front and back gardens, appliances and so on. As you go from room to room, out to the garage or garden shed, and so on, the app will prompt you for things to watch out for. So, for example, when you go into the bathroom it will remind you to check for fixture and fittings. You can also take photos with it.
Our Intelligent Keyboard Engine (IKE)TM will help prompt you for the text when you come to describe items. The end result will be a PDF document with sections, pictures all professionally laid out.
Panos, 26 February 2021
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