Landlord Inspections: What To Look For
When speaking to self manage landlords it's alarming how many don't do regular property inspections. Most say it's intruding upon their tenant when it doesn't need to be that way.
Why do property inspections?
They are crucial to determine how your tenants live and treat the property, as well as checking for any routine maintenance that the tenants haven't mentioned because they either haven't noticed it or didn't wish to bother you. If there is something you aren't happy with it can be addressed upon the inspection in a calm and non threatening action.
On all insurance policies for a buy to let property there will be a clause stating how often the property needs to be inspected by the landlord or the managing agent on behalf of the landlord. Don't forget these inspections need to be documented.
What to look for
Check for any overgrown hedges/ untidy garden
Check for any moss in the guttering which could cause a blockage
Look at the roof for any slipped roof tiles
Any accessibly wet patches to the outside brickwork which could indicate an issue/leaking guttering
Path/driveway isn't overly broken up which could cause damage to a car
Look inside garage and shed for any leaks/water ingress
Windows and doors open/close and lock properly
Tidiness is suitable and won't cause any damage to the decor
Any mould around window frames, below bay windows or in the bathrooms
Furniture isn't pushed against the walls - if it is ask the tenants to pull it away to allow the air to circulate
Check the silicon around the bath, basin, work surfaces and kitchen sink aren't showing any signs of cracks
All taps are easy to use and not dripping once shut off
Check ceilings for any signs of a wet patch which could indicate a leak
The general property condition isn't showing excessive ware and tear for the number of tenants living in the property
How often to do inspections
The best time to do the first inspection for a new tenancy is after the first 3 months, this gives the tenants time to unpack and settle into the property and gives a good indication of how they will live. If the first inspection is good every 6 months should be suitable, unless the insurance states a different timescale, but if there are any concerns step them up to every 3 months until those concerns are resolved and drop back to 6 monthly.
These inspections do not need to be intrusive and are good for tenants to raise issues directly with the landlord as well as ask any questions face to face that they may have. Regular inspections allows a good mutual tenant landlord relationship, the tenants see the landlords want to look after the property and in turn that rubs off onto the tenants meaning a better maintained and looked after property.