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  • Writer's pictureElliot Leigh

Landlords: Everything to Know About Inspecting Your Property

letting agent showing a couple round a property in front of a large juliet window

It is essential to carry out property inspections at regular intervals whether repairs have been reported or not. Inspections can allow you to ensure that tenants are looking after the property and holding up their end of the tenancy agreement as well as giving you an opportunity to spot any repairs that tenants may have missed. You should use these inspections as a way of informing the tenant of your expectations for the property to avoid any unwanted surprises or disagreements when the tenancy comes to a close. Read on to find out everything you need to know about carrying out inspections.

Why should you conduct regular property inspections?

We would recommend you carry out regular inspections, at 8-12 week intervals. This allows for the following:

  • You can check how well the tenant is maintaining your property

  • Ensure that health and safety requirements are being met such as unobstructed fire exits

  • Allows you to get to know you tenant better, making you more approachable and forming a strong relationship. This is likely to encourage your tenant to look after your property to a high level.

  • Check for any illegal activity - this could range from illegal subletting to use of illegal substances

What permission does a Landlord need to enter the property?

As a landlord, you do not necessarily need permission to enter a property, although it is recommended. There are, however, laws that need to be followed regarding regular inspections.

1. The right to enter to inspect the state of repair of the property 

As the owner of the property, you are able to enter the property to inspect the “state of repair” but immediate access will not be granted for inspections. Inspections must be carried out at a reasonable time and notice must be given to the tenant, at least 24 hours prior, if someone other than the landlord is planning on attending.

2. The right of reasonable access

The right of reasonable access refers to immediate access required to carry out emergency repairs.

3. The right to enter to provide room cleaning services

Whilst highly uncommon, if your contract states that room cleaning services are provided then you can access without permission for this to be carried out.

Top tip: The tenant does not need to be present for an inspection to be carried out for an emergency. Whilst we would advise against doing so, if it is required, you must inform the tenant at least 24 hours beforehand as failure to enter without permission or reason is against the law.

What should Landlords look for on an inspection?

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how thorough you want your inspections to be. We would recommend using this time to look for the following:

  • Damage beyond wear & tear 

  • Signs of illegal subletting

  • Leaks, damp and mould

  • Condition of furniture & white goods

  • Safety inspections such as checking smoke alarms and ensuring fire exits aren't obstructed

  • Signs of infestations & pests

  • Maintenance of the gardens

  • Excessive Rubbish

How to report a property inspection

As previously mentioned, we would recommend that you undertake property inspections every 8-12 weeks, depending on the length of your tenancy. When carrying out the inspection, ensure you record the date, address, details of the inspector and the details of anyone else present, such as the tenant.

To help you keep record of any recurring issues, you should fill in an inspection form which can be found online for free. This can help you keep up to date on any pending maintenance issues. We would also advise taking pictures throughout your inspection. 

What if my tenant refuses access?

If you turn up unannounced the tenant can refuse access. To avoid this, ensure you give plenty of warning with a written notice. 

If you’ve given notice and a tenant still refuses access, you must respect this as the Landlord to keep the relationship between yourself and the tenant as positive as possible. However, this is something to keep an eye on as tenants usually only refuse access if they have something to hide. Liaise with the tenant and try to agree on a date that works for them.

Are you keeping up with your inspections?

Keeping up with property inspections, and the maintenance that comes with it, is not easy for landlords, especially when you potentially live far away from where the property is. A property management company like Elliot Leigh can offer landlords convenience, expertise, and peace of mind by handling various aspects of property ownership and management. It's a valuable investment for those looking to optimise their time, mitigate risks, and enhance the overall performance of their rental properties. If you’d like to hear more, get in touch today.

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