Landlords: What should you expect when you're inspecting?

Landlords: What should you expect when you're inspecting?

The experts at Belvoir offer their advice.....

Vaughan Schofield, owner of Belvoir Wrexham, advised: “Regular inspections to examine a property and its condition when tenanted are extremely valuable for both the landlord and tenant. They are one of the core tasks of a managing agent (or a self-managing landlord) and are probably the most high profile responsibility we have in order to protect the property and the landlord's investment...”

Inspect and protect

Vaughan commented: “It is advisable that inspection visits should take place at least quarterly. If there are concerns about the way a property is being kept, or if the property itself is subject to anti-social behaviour from neighbouring houses, then more frequent visits can be arranged by agreement.

If you don't inspect on a regular basis damage can remain unreported, maintenance issues can escalate and standards can slip as the tenant will be receiving the wrong signals from the agent or owner. Importantly, too, you will be unable to provide evidence with any degree of authority to the deposit service because your visits will not have been carried out in a timely way.

Inspections can be a critical component in any claim that is submitted on the deposit at the end of the tenancy. They provide an opportunity to document key evidence on a timeline so the question of accidental or willful damage to a property can be assessed.”

Vigilant visits

Vaughan says: “During the inspection there are many things to look out for and be mindful of. The inventory is extremely important here and should be taken along to each visit.

This internal and external property report, which was done at the very beginning of the tenancy, will allow you to identify any visual changes that have occurred since the tenant moved in. Any problems, damage or maintenance issues should be marked on this document so that all changes in appearance can be logged.

The degree of these changes, along with the length of the tenancy, will help determine whether they are something the tenant can be held responsible for and whether it's reasonable to make a claim.

An inspection is also an opportunity to make sure the tenant is living within the terms of their Tenancy Agreement,” he continues. “This could include things such as evidence of pets at the property, sub-letting, smoking or even not mowing the lawn if that was part of the initial agreement.

It's also important to remember that the purpose of the inspection is to protect the property and people in it rather than an opportunity to formally criticise the tenant's tidiness or how they choose to live.

The only things we can comment upon, encourage and motivate people to do something about is if there is clearly a mode of living in the property which is causing detrimental damage now, will potentially cause damage over the term of the tenancy or if there is a health and safety issue, such as an over-accumulation of clutter which would prevent a prompt escape in a fire.”


Aftercare assessment

“Once the inspection is complete there is still work to do,” says Vaughan. “We write a summary report for the landlord logging our findings, plus we supply a copy to the tenant to make sure there is a universal understanding and everybody is on the same page.

If the property is being well-managed and looked after by the tenant then everyone is happy and everyone should know this. Likewise, if there are issues these should be highlighted so that all stakeholders concerned are aware of what these are.

Any follow-up action will then need to be confirmed in writing in order to create an audit trail which can be easily and accessibly revisited in the future if necessary.”

 Inspection essentials – at-a-glance...

√ Visit the property regularly, at least quarterly

√ Arrange a convenient time with the tenant in advance

√ Take along the inventory so visual changes can be logged

√ Look out for evidence of anything that may contravene the Tenancy Agreement, such as pets, additional tenants, smoking etc

√ Provide a summary report after the inspection. Make sure all parties have copies.

√ Ensure follow-up actions are confirmed in writing, plus carried out accurately and adequately  

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Latest Comments

Oliver Conway
Oliver Conway 18 May 2017

Making a neat inventory is a good idea, but if the seller is not willing to provide it, can the buyer demand it?

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Bertrand
Bertrand 17 May 2017

First step to nationalisation of the private rented sector IMHO. Nanny state poking their noses into things yet again. I object, as a decent landlord, sometimes having to deal with some pretty awful tenants,...

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Izzy
Izzy 16 May 2017

This is such a great a post. I love the detail you've gone into. It's a very useful article for helping those who are looking at deciding which sector they would like to go into! When I first started investing...

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paul burnham
paul burnham 30 Apr 2017

Jeremy Corbyn's pledge that a Labour government would build 500,000 new council houses must electrify the general election campaign. Reliance on markets and the profit motive has brought huge housing-related...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 28 Apr 2017

Sadiq Khan?s announcement of an online database of landlords and letting agents who have been convicted of housing offences, appears on face value to be a variation of the already implemented Database

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warren
warren 26 Apr 2017

You're very welcome Mary! Glad you enjoyed them :)

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Mary Ward
Mary Ward 26 Apr 2017

Thank you for the wonderful ideas. First impressions can make or break a deal. It's sadly that many homeowners drop the kerb to create an off-street parking space.

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Tony Gimple
Tony Gimple 14 Apr 2017

I'm not at all surprised that so many landlords are still confused about what the tax changes really mean and how it will affect them. In particular, the blind rush to incorporation is leaving landlords...

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MH
MH 13 Apr 2017

You are right that the bank holidays are going to be spoiled in looking for the properties. But people who want to sell their property and looking for the better relocation, they can get benefits of this...

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bnellyb
bnellyb 08 Apr 2017

There will be an exodus of private landlords over the next 5 years as tax changes take effect, private landlords provide an important service to the rental market, why do housing associations and councils...

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Fred Cassman
Fred Cassman 07 Apr 2017

"Make it look like you are at home": often people forget this and share on facebook their location!

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jared townsend
jared townsend 05 Apr 2017

It'll be interesting to see how & if the Government's asset sale regarding mortgages helps

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