Landlord Advice

Landlord Inspection Checklist – Keeping your property in tip-top shape

As a landlord, property inspections can be the last thing on your mind. But, they are incredibly important! Home inspections can bring to light certain areas of your property that need maintenance. Plus, there is the added benefit of being able to make sure that your tenants are taking care of your investment properly. 

So if you:

  • Are planning an inspection;
  • Are unsure of what to look out for;
  • Want to make property inspections as easy as possible.

Then read on! 

Landlord inspection checklist

So let’s get straight to the point and we can go into more detail later. The things you should look for in your inspection are as follows: 

  • Gas boilers 
  • Gas appliances
  • Electrical appliances
  • Electrical outlets
  • Smoke alarms 
  • Fire escapes (More so for HMO landlords)
  • Checks for mould and water damage
  • Plumbing
  • Window & door seals
  • Pest Control
  • Tenancy breaches
  • Overall cleanliness

Now that you know what to inspect, let’s go into a little more detail.

Inspect the boiler

A priority during any landlord inspection is to check that the boiler is in good shape. This is especially important during the colder seasons, as you don’t want your tenants going without heating. Check that the heating system works and make a note of when the boiler should next be serviced. Obviously, if you notice any issues or faults, you’ll need a gas safe engineer to sort the problem.  

Inspect gas appliances

If certain appliances run on gas, you’ll want to make a quick check to ensure everything is working properly. Usually, this means the oven in the kitchen if it runs on gas, water heaters, flues, gas fires, etc. Records of the gas safety check of these appliances are included in your gas safety certificate, but as it’s only valid for 12 months, do keep an eye on when your last gas safety inspection was.

Electrical appliances and outlets

Much the same with gas, electrical appliances, fittings and connections need to be checked to make sure everything is safe. The wiring and general safety of the appliances are checked and should be included in your EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report). You should keep in mind EICRs are usually valid for 5 years within a rental property, though you will need to schedule a new one for every new tenancy. 

Smoke Alarms 

This is a simple one. All you need to do is check that all the smoke alarms are in working order. Obviously, if a smoke alarm is faulty, you’ll need to replace it. 

Fire escapes and fire safety

Generally, this is more applicable for HMO landlords, as they have multiple tenants living in the same property. Check that the fire exits can be opened easily and that there is nothing blocking the route to the fire exits. If you have fire extinguishers or fire blankets, you’ll need to check them, too, for any issues. In terms of checking fire extinguishers, make sure that they are still full and there are no signs of damage or corrosion. Then, inspect the pressure gauge to make sure it can be properly operated, usually marked in green. 

Mould and water damage

Mould and water damage in a property are often easy to spot, but landlords often turn a blind eye to the problem as its elimination is deemed costly, of course. It is your responsibility to fix most types of water damage or mould unless it was caused by the tenant. For instance, if a tenant doesn’t properly ventilate the property, any damage might be their responsibility. However, for most other causes, you are responsible to remedy any issues, such as those described below: 

  • Faulty heating and ventilation systems
  • Plumbing and piping
  • Structural problems within old homes (associated with rising damp)
  • Damage to the roof

Do keep an eye, as some types of water damage and mould can cause health issues for your tenants, especially if they are asthma sufferers or allergic to the spores.

Plumbing

Inspection of the plumbing is best done with a professional plumber and the plumbing should be checked before any new tenancy, just to make sure that everything is working as it should. A proper check by a plumbing expert will also identify any potential problems before they arise.

To make this easier, you should consider opting for a plumbing maintenance plan. This involves regular check-ups and maintenance to ensure the entire system is in good running order. Plus, with a regular plan, any issues that are found can be fixed immediately, before they turn into larger, more expensive repair problems. 

Window and door seals 

Check window and door seals is crucial in terms of pest control and energy efficiency. Gaps in the seals of doors and windows can allow any number of beasties into the property, including ants, which can be a nightmare to get rid of. Not to mention, during the colder seasons, heat will escape the property, leading to higher energy bills. 

To identify any gaps, give your windows a quick tap or push gently against them. If you feel movement or a rattle, there is a gap in the seal. You can also use a candle or an incense stick on windy days to identify any gaps in window and door seals that can’t be noticed with the naked eye. Any bend of the flame, or movement of the smoke is a telltale sign that air is either coming into or escaping your house. 

Pest control

This is an obvious one. You’ll want to make sure your property doesn’t have any unwanted tenants. Check for nests, gnawed walls or skirtings, dead bugs, etc. If you do notice any problems, you’ll want to hire a professional pest controller. Not only will they be able to find the problem areas faster than you would, but also deal with the problem faster than any home remedies. This will help you when trying to get new tenants into your property. You don’t want rats scurrying around the hallways when you’re doing a viewing, right? 

Tenancy breaches

We’ll give this extensive subject slightly more attention, as we’ve got a lot to cover. Depending on the rules you set out in the tenancy agreement, there may be a couple more things that you need to look out for. So let’s get started. 

Property damage

One of the more crucial ones, first. If a tenant has caused damage to your property, they will be responsible for fixing it. This is why it’s so important to make a landlord inventory of everything in the property. Inventories will give you a record of the condition of the items, appliances and fixtures in your home at the start of a tenancy. That means that if there is any damage, you will be able to cross-reference with your records to check culpability. 

Smoking

If you’re a landlord, who bans smoking on their property, this will be important to you. Check the walls and ceilings for yellow or orange stains. Plus, be on the lookout for any suspect smells. Strong scented candles, incense or air fresheners could be used to mask the smell of smoke. Damage from smoking can be quite costly to fix, so do warn tenants if you do notice signs of smoking. 

Pet activity

Many rental properties have rules against pets. If pets are poorly trained, they can cause damage to the property, whether it be through scratched walls, or suspect stains on carpets. Pet activity will be easy to find. Be mindful if a tenant refuses you entry to a particular room, as it could be more evidence that a pet is present. 

Subletting

Another big no-no for landlords and completely illegal if you haven’t been asked for permission, or if you have specifically outlined in the tenancy agreement that it isn’t allowed. Plus, you can file for eviction if your tenants are subletting. You should check for extra beds or mattresses, extra rubbish, neighbours noticing regular visitors appearing in and out of the property.

Sometimes, there are innocent reasons for this, like the tenants having family or friends staying over. So, always talk to your tenants first, before deciding to take action straight away. 

Overall cleanliness

The cleanliness of the property is important. While you shouldn’t expect your tenants to go completely overboard with their cleaning schedule, it’s important to make sure the property is tidy. An excess of mess can encourage pest infestations, leading to costly pest control bills. Let the tenants know what you expect and do bring up the issue if the property isn’t up to your standards. 

It’s important to note that a property should be spotless when the tenant leaves a property. If not, you can charge the tenant for the cleaning, which is deducted from the security deposit.

Need an inventory of your property? 

Inventories are a nightmare to carry out, especially if you’re short on time. So why not let us, at Fantastic Services, take inventory for you? Not only will you save yourself time, but you’ll get an extensive check of your entire property, including pictures. That means if any damage has been done to any furniture, you can check whether it was done after the tenant moved in.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact us to book your property inventory appointment! 

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Takeaways

  • Inspections are beneficial both to you and the tenant.
  • Make sure to check everything, you don’t want to miss anything.
  • If you find any issues, make sure to fix them immediately.
  • Ensure to check for any breaches in the tenancy agreement.

***

We hope you found our landlord inspection checklist helpful. If there is anything we’ve missed, please, feel free to leave us a comment below. 

Image Source: Shutterstock/peterschreiber.media

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