Why you should make inspecting your property a priority…
We all know that regular inspections are vital but how many of us are doing them? The answer is not many, and the ones that are don’t do them often enough. So lets remind ourselves why they are so important….
Anyone that knows me and my business would have definitely heard me going on about how important communication is with both my landlords and tenants. Inspections are a great excuse to check in on your tenant’s. It’s a great time for tenants to ask any questions or tell you about concerns they have about the property.
Keeping on top of maintenance issues can be frustrating at times but if you leave things more problems will come up in the very near future. Inspecting your property regularly is the perfect way to spot any problems no matter how big or small and act on them immediately. By doing this you reduce your costs as the issue hasn’t got bigger and it keeps your tenant happy.
I always say its the tenants home and we all live differently. We can’t judge the way someone lives in our properties just because you do something different. What we can do is make sure the property is being looked after to a good standard and inspections are designed for this. Things to check are flooring to make sure its being cleaned regularly, drains are free flowing (including outside), bins are not overflowing and are being put into the wheely bins and not left in the garden, you get the picture. Just because a tenant hasn’t put their shoes away isnt something you should be commenting on (believe me this is something a landlord brought up).
4/ How often
I can guarantee that most people will say every 6 months but it really depends on the property and tenant type. For HMO (house of multiple occupations) properties I would suggest doing inspections once a month in all communal areas and once every 2 months for personal spaces. For SL (single let) properties I do them every 4-5 months.
5/ Do you tell the tenants you are coming
YES! I hear so many people going to their investment properties without giving the tenant notice. You should give your tenant at least 24 hours notice of any visit to the property. I always try to allow 5 days notice. Always remember it’s your house but the tenants home. Put yourself in their shoes… Would you appreciate someone coming to your home unannounced to inspect it. I’m guessing your answer is no.
6/ What if the property isn’t being looked after
Ok, so sometimes you walk into a property and realise it’s not being looked after very well. I’m sure your emotions will run high but keep calm write things down and take photos of the problem areas. If you are not comfortable confronting the tenant you can always email them with problem areas including the photo evidence. I always do both… speak with the tenant and email them to confirm the actions that are needed. I also give the tenant 10 days to sort out the problem(s) before I go back to inspect again. I can honestly say that every time this has happened I go back and the tenant has resolved the issue(s).
7/ Will my letting agent do inspections for me
Check your contract! Every agent is different and what they do or don’t include in fully managed services can vary but more often than not inspections are included in this service. I would like you to ask yourself a question… when was the last inspection completed at your investment property? Is your agent doing ‘regular’ inspections at all? Why do I ask you this? Because I’m coming across lots of properties that haven’t had an inspection for a very long time. If you are paying an agent to look after your investment property they ’should’ send you an inspection document after every inspection is complete. If you haven’t received one get on the phone and ask for it.
8/ Can I go with my letting agent when they carry out inspections on my investment property
Simple answer is YES. Of course you can go and inspect your own investment property. Speak with your agent and tell them your would like to attend the next inspection and find out when that will be.
9/ Agree a time
I try to accomodate my tenants as much as possible and that includes what time I do my inspections. I always like to do my inspections when the tenants are home as its a good touch point and like most people in the day they are at work or have plans. This means that in some cases I do the inspection in the evening.
10/What if my tenant has decorated without asking
Sometimes you walk into a property and it can look very different to the last time you inspected it. Tenants should always ask if they can decorate or hang items on the wall but lets face it, lots dont. If this is the case I never ask for the tenant to change it back I just make them aware that when they decide to move on they will need to put it back to how it was before. That includes filling and decorating any wholes in the wall from hanging items.
Tenants want to make the house a home and one very important factor to this is photos. A great way to allow tenants to hang pictures is to supply photo frames that have already been hung for them (Make sure its in the inventory as part of the property). This way tenants can make it feel like there home and there’s no additional holes in the wall. Win win for both party’s.
We are continually looking to help more landlords around Leicestershire and Derby to manage there investment property(s). If you would like to have a chat about how we can work with you please contact Natalie on 07526186047 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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