Some things you need to know about Mid-term inspections as a Landlord
If you are a landlord or letting agent, you need to carry out routine checks on the property or properties that you own or manage with the object of checking on their condition and the condition of everything within them. This is divided into an inventory report, check-in and check-out reports, and interim inspections. Quite obviously, if a property is let furnished, or partly furnished, the inspection will take a lot longer than if it is let empty.
The purpose of such inspections is that you can see if there is any deterioration in fittings above and beyond normal wear and tear. There is a secondary issue here and that is that it enables you to check on the condition of things that the tenant may either not have noticed or simply not bothered to report. This gives you as landlord or agent the chance to carry out repairs or fix a problem before it becomes worse and costs a lot more to repair.
In addition, carrying out interim inspections enables you to see where fair wear and tear has occurred, which is useful from the tenant’s point of view. For instance, carpets do wear out over time and need replacing, and that is not the responsibility of the tenant. There are, of course, some rogue landlords who might try to blame the tenant for that, but if you are an agent and can demonstrate the gradual deterioration over time, the landlord is less likely to argue.
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, s11, the landlord has the right to enter the premises in order to check the condition. The exact terms of the Act are as follows:
“In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair.”
In other words, the tenant must be given 24 hours’ notice in writing and the inspection must be carried out at “reasonable” hours. If someone other than the landlord or agent is going to carry out the inspection, that person must be authorised in writing.
How often should you carry out inspections? This can vary, but quite a number of people do so quarterly, and this can be reduced to six-monthly if the tenant is keeping the property in good order. You shouldn’t carry out inspections more frequently than quarterly because that could be considered to be harassment, unless there is a genuine reason concerning repairs or maintenance.
A side note here is that just because the tenant is a good payer does not always mean that they are good tenants.
Furthermore, meeting with the tenant on a regular basis allows you to build up a relationship with them which can be a good thing, because if the tenant is happy with the landlord or agent, it is less likely that they will pack up and move, and everyone wants good, long-term tenants.
When you carry out an inspection, it is a good idea to use the free inventory app that we provide at Reports2Go. This can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store to any mobile or tablet, and you can use it to speed up the process of taking inventory. Our software allows you to use dictation software by simply talking into your mobile with your comments and notes as you go from room to room, and when you have finished the inspection, you can upload it to your portal on our server. It will then be ready for you to download and type up later.
Dictation software is entirely free to use provided you have internet coverage at the inventory site. It makes sense to look over the text once completed as errors can creep into automatically transcribed text.
Dan, 10 September 2021
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