Reasons for Landlords to carry out Mid-term Inspections
Mid-term inspections are a useful exercise both for the tenant and the landlord. Most believe the principal reason is to keep an eye out on the progress of the tenancy and whether the tenant is following the agreed terms of the contract. That is, of course, the main reason. Usually rental terms will specify that a mid-term inspection will be carried out after an initial 3 months into the tenancy and then at 6 monthly intervals if all is well. Others specify a 3,3,6,6.. pattern whilst some only carry out one every 6 months – from the start.
All in all, the aim should be to have a mid-term inspection early in the tenancy to catch any issues and then follow-up with more spread-out ones. If something is not right early on, it gives the landlord/agent a good opportunity to set the right course.
The early inspection also gives an opportunity to the tenant to point out any persistent problems that haven’t been resolved. The fabric of the building is the landlord’s responsibility and items such as external drains, soffits & facias etc. need to be maintained by the landlord throughout the tenancy.
There may be issues with the plumbing or a small leak that could spiral into an expensive repair if left unattended. Damp and its avoidance by good ventilation is something that can be easily covered in a face-to-face conversation. A quick look under the sink can verify that there are no leaks developing or leading to damp and mould. Mould especially is important to spot and clear up – it causes silent damage and can affect the health of tenants.
If there are activities that neighbours have complained of then these too can be addressed sometimes a lot more easily in person than via an officious letter. Mid-term inspections gives a great opportunity to get to know the tenant and vice versa.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested and if battery operated to have the batteries changed once a year.
In addition, external outbuilding should be checked for rodents, roof leaks and the like. It has also not been unknown for pigeons etc. to get in and perish. Not nice.
When you need to carry out a mid-term inspection it is worth noting that both the tenant and landlord have rights under law. As the landlord you have to carry out an inspection at “reasonable times of day” and you must give the tenant 24 hours written notice. If you are going to appoint someone else to carry out the inspection, then that person must have written authority to do so. You may then enter the premises for the purposes of viewing the condition and state of repair. Equally, the tenant has the right to live in “quiet enjoyment”.
It is also possible that the tenant may refuse right of entry, and it seems that he/she is allowed to do so. However, if this means that the property is in worse condition at the end of the tenancy because of an issue that you were not allowed to inspect, then you will be able to claim for damage from the tenant’s deposit.
In summary, mid-term inspections are invaluable. They follow on from the inventory report and check-in report and provide and easy method to keep tenancies on track and also a channel for communication. The Reports2go app provides a very quick mid-term inspection report which is easy to complete and provides mechanisms for capturing maintenance issues that can be easily handed over to your property maintainer to address.
Panos, 28 August 2020
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