If you own a buy-to-let property, you should know that conducting regular inspections are a vitally important requirement of your role. If you let an agent manage your property, then that will be one of their core responsibilities.
Not only are they a key part of the buy-to-let process, inspections are very valuable for both landlords and tenants. By keeping tenants on board through regular contact, the risk of having an unoccupied property will be negated.
But when should an inspection be carried out? What should you look for? And what should you record?
Inspect to protect –Inspection visits to your buy-to-let property should be conducted on a quarterly basis. Should you have concerns about the way your property is being kept or if anti-social behaviour threatens its features, then you can of course make more regular visits. If checks are not carried out on a regular basis, then damage could be missed, maintenance issues will pile up and your standards will slip!
Log your findings thoroughly-Regular inspections can be a vital tool in solving any claims that arrive at the conclusion of a tenancy agreement. If you have carried out timely checks, then you will be able to provide documented evidence from a certain time. In turn, the timing of damage, willful or accidental, can be determined.
Importance of inventories-It is vitally important that your inventory is both thorough and relevant. This internal and external property report, which must be conducted at the beginning of the tenancy, will allow you to observe any visual changes that have occurred over the course of the agreement. The more thorough your inventory, the less chance of encountering any issues any the conclusion of the tenancy. Take your time, log anything you feel is relevant and take it along with you to all future inspections.
Assess if tenants are adhering to terms-An inspection of a buy-to-let property is also an opportunity to check if your tenant(s) are living within the terms of their agreement. Check for evidence of pets or smoking for example, if these are features that you agreed were prohibited in the original letting conditions. Remember that the inspection is to be conducted in order to protect the property and its assets, alongside the renters living there. Don’t pass judgment on how tidy particular tenants are, unless excess clutter is creating a fire hazard or the like!
Aftercare assessments-After you have carried out an inspection on your property, there is still work to be done. Write a summary report, with your key findings and ask the tenant to sign. This again will help to minimalise issues cropping up at the end of the agreement and will create an understanding between the two parties. Should issues be uncovered during an inspection, devise a suitable timeframe for it to be resolved.
Repair and resolve-If, during an inspection, you find issues that must be repaired or resolved immediately, then make sure you inform the tenant in writing. Make sure you keep a copy yourself which is signed and dated by all parties. And most importantly, make sure necessary works are completed accurately and to a high standard.