As a landlord, it’s vital that you carry out inspections of the exterior and interior of your property at regular intervals throughout the life of the tenancy agreement. These should occur on a quarterly basis initially and then could be scheduled further apart once you have carried out several positive inspections or kept as quarterly if you prefer.
According to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, all landlords have the right to enter a property to ascertain its ‘condition and state of repair’. There are some caveats however; these inspections must occur during a reasonable time of the day and you are legally obliged to provide a minimum of 24 hours’ written notice. If you using an appointed agent to carry out the inspection, this must also be advised of in writing.
The majority of tenancy agreements will include a clause for periodic inspections to occur, stating that the landlord is able to gain access to the property for purposes of an inspection. Although the law requires that landlords must maintain the property and ensure it is in a good state of repair, your tenant may not be aware of your right to check the condition of your property on a regular schedule. It is your responsibility to make sure they are informed that you will be performing periodic inspections.
If a tenant does not provide access for an inspection to be carried out, then it can only be enforced by a formal application for a court order. If the tenant initially refuses access, you or the appointed agent cannot enter the property. If you or they do, your actions can be considered as trespass or harassment. However, if the tenant refuses entry and, as a direct consequence, the property has deteriorated at the end of the tenancy, then you may be able to claim against their deposit.
Repair and Maintenance
It is crucial to identify major maintenance issues and repair any problems. As an example, this may include types of damp, leaks, heating issues and broken appliances. It is also important to carry out any repairs as soon as the issue is identified to prevent them becoming more costly. Do also check that the garden is well maintained and that the loft is free of leaks and birds or rodents.
Living conditions and cleanliness
Performing an inspection is the perfect opportunity to ensure that your tenants are looking after the property. You cannot evict them for keeping the property in a poor condition but it might prevent you from extending their contract.
Anti social behaviour and illegal activity
Never assume that your tenants are perfect just because they pay the rent on time. There have been many reports in the press regarding tenants growing cannabis in their rental property. Performing an inspection is a great opportunity to ensure they are not breaking the law in your property.
Maintaining tenant relations
Inspections are the perfect vehicle for keeping regular communication open with your tenants. This can reduce any tensions in the future as it will help you to maintain a good relationship going forward, especially if and when they decide to leave.
If your tenant does decide to move on, it’s vital that you inspect the property in preparation for letting it out to new tenants. Ensure the property is presentable and in good order to reduce any void periods.
After the inspection, compile a report and give your tenants a copy as proof that you are complying with your responsibilities.