It can be easy to underestimate the importance of doing regular inspections on your rental property. As a landlord it is extremely important that you include these into your regular management. You need to monitor the condition of your property and make sure that there are no issues – do not leave your property unchecked.
If you’re a new landlord, you might ask why landlords do periodic inspections at all? The reason is simple – it is to ensure your property investment is being properly maintained.
You have an obligation to ensure that the property continues to meet the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019. Without regular inspection you cannot be confident that you are compliant with the standards. Issues may cause damage; go unnoticed and unchecked with delays in repairs resulting in more extensive damage and potentially costing you more.
Inspections afford you peace of mind that the tenant is adhering to their responsibilities. It can be very helpful to carry out your inspection referencing a copy of the Housing Standards.
How Often Should You Inspect?
Your tenants are entitled to the peaceful and exclusive use of the property, so you must consider how often is appropriate. Twice a year is acceptable but it may need to be more frequent if there is a problem/issue.
It can be hard to know how often to do inspections. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Twice a year is suggested.
- For new tenants, try to do an inspection three to four months after move-in to ensure no issues arise in the first 6 months.
- Safety inspections should be conducted as frequently as needed for example if you have a pest problem or if there are any fire or safety concerns.
For clarity, it’s a good idea to include in the lease agreement information about how and when inspections are done. This can assist in preventing any potential issues or confusion. It also keeps things on record in writing.
Accessing the Property for Inspection
Landlords may feel as if they are bothering the tenant when they want to do an inspection. However, it is your obligation to ensure the property is to the legal standard.
You have the right to carry out inspections of your property, however, you must get the tenants consent to carry out the inspection and you should give them reasonable notice. You cannot let yourself into the property without the tenant’s permission or without the tenants agreement. While the landlord owns the property, tenants have exclusive rights to fair and quiet use of the property.
You must agree a time and date with the tenant. We suggest that you do this in writing.
Can a tenant refuse the inspection?
While a tenant is allowed to request a different date and time than what was originally scheduled for the inspection, they cannot outright refuse to let you inspect your property.
If the tenant continually refuses access to the property or does not respond to requests, they are in breach of their obligations.
In such instances, you should first write to the tenant, outlining the breach of their responsibility (in this case, not allowing an inspection), outlining the consequences if the breach continues. Offer some possible alternate dates to carry out the inspection, if these dates are not agreeable ask them to confirm a suitable date and time within a reasonable time frame. The consequences of not giving a date must be included in the correspondence. If no date for access is given within the reasonable period given – a 28-day notice of termination for breach of tenant responsibilities can be issued.
It is recommended that all correspondence, including texts, between you and the tenant, are retained as a record.
What to Look for During an Inspection?
- Mould can be a serious issue. Check around windows and sinks, pay specific attention to rooms prone to moisture, such as the bathroom and kitchen. Check that all extractor fans are clean and in working order (bathroom and kitchen) – this will help to prevent mould infestations in the future.
- Are the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms still in place and in working order?
- Are all plumbing, and related appliances working properly? Leaks can be one of the main causes of mould and rot, check the drains outside for blockages to ensure that water is not overflowing, as this can lead to much bigger problems.
- Check over the condition of the fixtures and fittings that you have provided. Make sure they are in good condition with no signs of excessive damage. Are the appliances provided in safe working order? Is anything included in the inventory missing?
- Are there signs of any unusual activity – extra beds / overcrowding?
- Are all the doors/locks in working order and all keys accounted for?
- Refer to the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019 to ensure compliance with its requirements.
- Your contract may have a clause relating to the maintenance of the garden. Assuming this is the case, you should check that it is not overgrown etc. The garden should be free from rubbish as it can attract pests. Confirm that the property is being maintained according to the lease terms.
During an inspection you do not have the right to touch any personal possessions belonging to your tenant without permission.
You must also remember that tenants are only liable for damage – not fair wear, and tear. As you inspect the property, consider which issues were caused by reasonable wear and tear and which were not.
What Happens After an Inspection?
During or after the inspection, you will let the tenant know if there are any issues or concerning factors, they need to be aware of or repair within a reasonable time frame.
We suggest that you communicate this in writing.
Are You New To The Private Rented Sector – Do You Need Help?
Contact The IPOA Team
01/8276000 / email@example.com