Why you should carry out Interim Inspections as a Landlord
When you own a buy to let property there are a number of things which you need to do, and which you may not have considered if you are just embarking on becoming a landlord. One of these is to carry out periodic inspections of the property, and this is for two main reasons. The first of these is to check that everything is in good working order, and that includes the inside of the home and, where appropriate, the outside - garden, shed, garage, fencing, etc.
The second is that it gives you an opportunity to see how your tenants are getting on. Are they following the terms of the tenancy or their discrepancies creeping in?
It’s not just a question of whether they are on time with their payments and only the laggers need an inspection. Often the case thar there are valid external reasons for rent issues and someone on time may not be the best at looking after a property.
Your starting point should be a thorough inventory report and a check-in report at the start of a tenancy. The inventory should be comprehensive with a good set of photographs to back up the descriptions and statements of condition. It should cover not just the walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light switches, power sockets, and so on, but everything including all furnishings and fixtures such as tables, chairs, curtains, and anything else that belongs to you and which you are handing over to your tenants for the duration. Such a list is known by several different names, one of which as a schedule of condition, which is exactly what it is.
The inventory and check-in report combination photographs are critical. It is difficult to argue with photographs later down the line. Furthermore, if at all possible, you should carry out this check with the new tenant present at the time. This means that you can both agree on the condition of everything, and you can get your tenant to sign on the spot that they agree with your report. Give them a few days to update anything that may have been missed or if your tenant cannot be present when you carry out the check-in report. You must give them a copy and request that they check everything as soon as they move in and then sign the agreement. If there is anything that has been missed, they are entitled to notify you before signing. Ultimately, that means that your schedule of condition is binding upon you both.
A good report signed in agreement by all will make the task of resolving any issues that much more simpler and hopefully without fuss. You will be able to claim the cost of repairs or replacement from the deposit. From the tenant’s point of view, it means that you cannot claim for pre-existing damage. You also cannot claim for fair wear and tear.
How often should you carry out periodic inspections? This can vary from one landlord to the next, but many recommend initially at three months and six monthly thereafter. If you find everything not satisfactory then you may want to run with three monthly until things settle down.
Another benefit of periodic inspection is that it gives you the chance to spot things which may need fixing, but that the tenant has not reported. This may be simply because the tenant has not noticed something, or just that they don’t want to trouble you. It gives them a channel of communication and you can get to know them better.
Carrying out all these inspections need not be time-consuming when you have the right tools. Many landlords choose to use our free app which we provide at Reports2Go. You download it to your mobile or tablet, and then you can use it as you carry out the inspection in either text or audio mode. The great advantage is the clever algorithm which will give you suggestions as you go through the property.
So, you can either type up as you go and then upload to your portal on our servers, in which case it will be ready to download very shortly, or dictate it in audio mode, upload it, and then type it up from there. The choice is yours.
For a small fee, our staff will type it up for you if you prefer.
Dan, 27 August 2021
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