A rental property inspection checklist is useful. It guides landlords on what they need to look out for. Properties come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s easy to miss some things.
Property inspections are unavoidable. If landlords fail to check rentals often, they can’t spot issues before they become a big problem. It’s also a good chance to ask tenants how they’re getting on.
Let’s start at the beginning;
What is a property inspection?
The purpose of an inspection is to evaluate the overall condition of the property; specifically to check if everything is in good working order and reasonable state, both the interior and exterior.
Inspections are typically conducted on a quarterly basis, but often reduced to bi-yearly after frequent positive inspections to the same property/tenants
Now, landlords are required to give 24 hours notice, there is a clause in most tenancy agreements that explains the below, but in normal terms;
The inspection must be conducted at “reasonable times of the day”
The landlord/agent must give 24 hours written notice (you can download an example of a notice letter at the bottom of this blog post)
If someone other than the landlord or agent is going to do the inspection, then that person should be authorised in writing.
*NB; did you know that if you’re inspecting one of your HMO properties, you do not have to give 24 hours notice? The tenant only rent the room from you, and can legally only stop you from entering that room without notice…however, this doesn’t mean you can pop round every Friday night for a brew!
Damp & Mould
This is one of the main areas we focus on, especially on inspections that are towards the end of the year, closer to the winter months! From past experience, tenants aren’t too bothered about mould or damp, mainly because they don’t understand the seriousness of it. Check around the sinks and windows, and in areas that may to be prone to moisture such as the kitchen or bathroom.
I usually run all the taps and check for any leaks – It’s also worth checking the drainage outside for blockages and ensuring water is not overflowing.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Super important to check all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – remind tenants that they need to be checking these every week!
General Condition of Fittings
I always give a patient once over all the fittings, including toilets, white goods and everything else that I provided with the property. Also, check over previous photos of the property – have they put any holes in the wall or wallpapered anywhere!
Loft / Attic
Just have a quick snoop around with a torch, looking for any leaks, holes and/or rodents.
A common dilemma with inspections is that there can be a very fine line between ‘fair wear and tear’ and ‘damage’.
Always remember – if any repairs are carried out between inspections, get photos of these, and update your inventory. AND have your tenant sign the inspection to show that they understand any work that needs doing, and is responsible for the current state of the property.
A lot of tenancy agreements hold the tenant responsible for maintaining the garden – just a quick check for rubbish and check that the garden is neat!
…It’s also important to check in with your tenant how they are (without being too nosy)! If you suspect anything, you may want to up your inspection frequency, and be more thorough with your checks.