One of the most problematic issues in both private and commercial property management is the property inspection. Getting this right and finding the tools to help might save you significant haggling. It’s hard enough for experienced property managers, but for beginners, it’s tough.
So how to approach this?
You need to carry out checks for legal compliance, including
• Smoke alarms – are they fitted and operational?
• Carbon monoxide detectors – are they fitted and working?
• Electrics – are they compliant and safe?
• Amenities – are they working?
• Exits – are all exits clear and functional?
Breaches of tenancy agreements or evidence of non-legal activity
It’s always important to check for any contract breaches or evidence of unacceptable activity. These include sub-letting, numbers of tenants in the property, pets that should not be there, smoking or evidence of illegal substances.
You must check for any health hazards such as sanitation, plumbing blockages, mould and pests.
You need to check for all conditions in the property and potential dilapidation. Check items such as:
• Wall and floors
You can, of course, use a property inspection app such as those provided by companies such as https://inventorybase.co.uk/.
Things to do before a property inspection
You must give 24 hours’ notice before any property inspection is carried out. This is a legal requirement. It would be polite to give more, but 24 hours would be the minimum. This will allow tenants to have enough notice to be present. Inspections are intrusive and the tenants’ right to notice should be respected.
What the landlord can do if entry is refused is:
• Write to tenants to advise them that if any repairs are needed, if the landlord isn’t allowed in, they will be financially liable.
• Point out that inspections are essential for safety.
• Evict tenants via a Section 21 Notice if the tenancy is finishing.
If tenants refuse access for an inspection, you should not enter. If you do, it may be deemed harassment. Tenants have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’, which means they should have privacy in the property, without landlords disturbing them. In an emergency, landlords may enter a property without consent.