What should you check for when inspecting your Lettings Property?

As a landlord or managing agent, you need to undertake inspections of your property, or properties, on a regular basis. Obviously, you need to produce a condition report at check-in and check-out, but interim inspections are an essential when letting a property.

These are necessary partly to check that the tenant has not caused any damage to fixtures and fittings, but also to look for problems which may not seem obvious or which the tenant has not bothered to report for one reason or another.

One of the main things that you should check for is damp and mould. It is often the case that a tenant will sometime not take a lot of notice of damp and mould either because they are not aware of the location or not aware just how dangerous moulds can be. It is a good idea to check around the sinks and the wash basin and bath, and also check around the windows. In addition, you should check pipe work which is hidden away in kitchen units. It is also a good idea to check that the extractor fans are all running properly and not clogged up with dirt, as this will help to prevent mould building up.

Poor ventilation often causes damp that is easily avoided. Having a shower or bath in an airtight bathroom is going to lead to condensation dripping on walls, sills and woodwork. Encourage the tenant to leave windows open, even briefly whilst hot water is being used.

You should run all the taps and check for leaks. This can be a primary cause of moulds. While doing this, you also need to check outside that the drains are flowing freely with no blockages. In addition, check on the gutters and downpipes.

When you are outside in the garden it is also worth checking the overall condition. Most tenancy agreements state that it is the responsibility of the tenant to maintain the garden, but not all of them are green-fingered. As long as the garden is neat and tidy, that is sufficient. You might want to look out for any piles of rubbish which might be attractive nesting sites to rodents. Also check any fencing and give a once-over to sheds and greenhouses if they are installed.

Back inside, you should check over all the fittings, including the toilet, shower, white goods, and anything else that you have let with the property. Also, it is most important to check smoke alarms, heat alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors where fitted. Tenants are unlikely to check the batteries of smoke alarms in order to see that they are still working, and they can also get clogged up with dust.

While you are at it, check on the condition of the loft if there is one. It is not unknown for rats and squirrels to set up home here.

If you are a landlord and use a managing agent, it should be part of the deal that they must carry out routine inspections, but the fact is that some of them don’t. They may say they do, but not actually do it, so you need to ensure that they do so, and provide you with a copy of each report.

One of the most important things to check on is fair wear and tear, which is something that cannot be laid at the tenant’s door. However, there can be a fine line sometimes between what is fair wear and tear and what is damage. The House of Lords has this to say about fair wear and tear: “Reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces.” This is a bit of a mouthful, but you can see what they mean.

So, a sofa covering may wear over time and that is one thing. However, if there are cigarette burns on your sofa then that is down to the tenant. It is also the case that nothing lasts forever, so if the dishwasher has been OK for ten years, and breaks down irreparably, it is fair to say that it has come to the end of its’ life.

If you are a landlord and have a property near to us at Reports2Go, we can provide you with property inventory services in Cambridge and surrounds, rather than having to do it yourself. You can get an instant quote for our property inventory services in Cambridge by clicking on the Inventory Service link on our website and filling out a couple of things on our calculator.

Gary, 17 September 2021

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