The advantages of regular inspections

 The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) is advising landlords and their agents to carry out regular inspections of their rental properties. Particularly at this time of year when condensation is most likely to cause problems, spotting potential issues early can help prevent any problems escalating.

Condensation causes dangerous black mould to appear, usually in the coldest parts of the property, such as in bedrooms. Condensation is usually caused by a lack of sufficient heating in the property (keeping walls and other surfaces cold and below the “dew point” when air borne water condenses) and lack of adequate ventilation of steam at source. In winter, tenants sometimes keep all the windows closed when washing, cooking and especially drying clothes on radiators. They want to economise on heating and prevent drafts, which are understandable reasons, but this should not be at the expense of damage to your property.

Once mould takes a hold it is difficult and expensive to eradicate – it gets into the very fabric of the building and will always return in the future when temperatures are allowed to drop. More often than not condensation is the result of how a tenant is living. It may be necessary to fit extractor fans where there is a real problem with condensation.

An inspection should also take in safety issues such as gas and electrical appliances, trips which might cause a fall, including outside walkways.

 Other issues which an inspection may reveal are: signs of unauthorised occupiers or pets, smoking in the property, unauthorised decorating and painting, insufficient cleaning and a build-up of refuse which may lead to vermin infestations.

With the new protection from eviction legislation – Retaliatory Eviction – passed last year, it is more important than ever to establish the condition of the property at regular intervals.

Use a documented check-list and take photo evidence on your phone. A good landlord’s insurance policy will include cover for malicious damage to the property cause by tenants or visitors, but these policies will specify regular inspections. If you ever need to make a claim for this you will need documentary evidence those regular inspections have been done.

The Mid-tenancy Inspection will usually be stated in the letting agreement, and takes place at the agreed intervals during the tenancy. Landlords will find these interim visits useful in deciding whether to extend a tenancy and the inspection will, with a detailed report, provide excellent evidence should you be required to show why you don’t want to extend.

You want to maintain your tenant’s absolute right to “quiet enjoyment” of the property, but at the same time you as landlord have an obligation to maintain the property in a safe condition. Labelling the inspections a “safety Inspection” will usually assure tenants and remove the feeling they are being checked on. You need to legally give tenants 24 hours’ notice of inspections.

Article courtesy of LandlordZONE

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