Having a rental property can add some extra and provide long term financial stability.
Unfortunately, you can’t just by a property and then sit back and reap the rewards; you have to do some leg work, particularly if you have decided to manage the property yourself as opposed to using a managing agent.
Most landlords, even new ones, understand the importance of conducting a move in and move out inspection, both for their benefit and that of the tenants.
However, I would also advise that that you carry out inspections during the lease term too. This is the best way to protect your asset, the property. It can help you ensure that everything is in order and that the property is being maintained the way it should be.
Let’s face it, if you kept your distance until your tenants moved out, you’d be gutted if you did a move out inspection only to discover cumulative damage – such as signs of criminal activity, dangerous conditions, dangerous animals or even unknown occupants – that could have been avoided if you’d kept your eyes on the ball.
Okay, I am not saying you should be round there every week, peeking through the windows and hassling your tenants, you’re asking for trouble if you do that! But once every three to six months should suffice.
Plus, you need to make sure you are prepared. Firstly, you need to let the tenants know you are planning to visit. 24 hours is okay but longer is more courteous and it is preferable to give them notice in writing. You also need to make sure the visit is conducted at a reasonable hour and encourage the tenant/s to be there so that you can discuss any issues with them directly.
You may also decide to give your tenants a list of the things you will be looking at, so they can do some preparation of their own and rectify any issues that are of their doing.
So, what should an inspection comprise and what do you need to do?
Malfunctioning white goods can be major causes of stress – for you and the tenants. So check that each appliance is working and check for signs of wear and tear, or anything that may suggest at item is coming to the end of its life.
It is the responsibility of the tenant/s to keep the property clean. Yes, they can keep it as clean as they like during the tenancy: after all, it’s their home. However, you want to make sure that things aren’t getting out of control. After all, it will all be your responsibility to put everything right once they have left, so just cast your eye around to make sure things aren’t getting too tarnished.
Check for wear, tear and breakages
You can’t penalise tenants for minor damage: some scrapes and scratches are to be expected. But anything more serious needs to be pointed out and discussed with the tenants. An inventory can help clarify breakages and the cost of repair, so make sure your tenants are giving one at the start of the tenancy.
Get the tenants’ input
Ask tenants if they think there are things you should be looking at. It will help to reduce damage from neglected repairs. Make sure they know that they will benefit from the inspection too: a property that is inspected properly has less need of repair and means there’s more likelihood that the tenants will get their full deposit back when they vacate the property.
Carrying out inspections and working alongside the tenant can help foster cooperation. You should also remember to praise tenants who are caring for the property properly: forging a good working relationship is key to helping keep the property in good condition.
If inspections aren’t your thing, you can also consider getting an agent in to manage the property for you. The team here at Bluestone Sales & Lettings would be happy to help!