Rental property inspections
If you’re either a tenant or a landlord, you should be familiar with incoming and outgoing rental inspections. They are required by law under the Rental Housing Act.
Landlords and tenants often disagree on who is liable for repairs or damages to a rental property. The best way to avoid conflict is to have a thorough inspection report done. Property inspections help landlords to protect the value of their investment. They provide peace of mind to tenants by ensuring the property is safe for habitation.
However, it’s important that both parties understand what is involved in rental property inspection and the responsibilities of each party.
What is a rental property inspection?
The primary purpose of a rental inspection is to evaluate and record the condition of the property, inside and out. Therefore, I will check the condition of the property, ensuring that services like plumbing and electrics are in working order. The secondary purpose of an inspection is to make sure tenants are keeping to the conditions of their lease.
What does a rental property inspector look for?
I will check the following key areas:
1) The general condition of the property
Upon arrival, I will carry out a quick appraisal of the general condition of the property. Specifically, I will check the condition of the paintwork, both inside and outside. I will the condition of windows, and ensure doors are in good working order and secured properly. In addition, I will check internal and external walls for cracks (which may require further examination).
2) Assess tenant living conditions
Furthermore, I will also assess the tenants living conditions. The state a tenant lives in is an indication as to their ability to look after the property. Generally, landlords want tenants who keep the place tidy, since tidy tenants are more likely to look after the property. While tenants aren’t evicted because they are untidy, landlords may not want to renew the rental agreement for such tenants.
3) Check for illegal activity
I do not search through the tenant’s personal belongings. However, I will check to make sure no illegal activity is being carried out without interfering with the tenants right to privacy.
4) Damp patches and mould
Tenants seldom mention the presence of mould because they are not aware of how serious and dangerous it can be. If mould is present, I will try to establish the cause of the mould or damp.
Leaks and blockages are a leading cause of damp and mould and damage to the property. I check the plumbing for leaks. This includes running taps and checking under the kitchen sinks, showers and baths for leaks and damp. Furthermore, I check the guttering and drains for blockages as part of the rental property inspection.
5) Condition of fixtures and fittings
The condition of any fixtures and fittings that were supplied with the property are checked. Moreover, I check basic items such as light fittings and any kitchen appliances that are part of the tenancy agreement.
6) Garden condition
If the property has a garden this will be checked as part of the rental property inspection to make sure it is being properly cared for. Grass should be cut regularly, hedges should be trimmed and plants watered and rubbish cleared. Gardens are one area which tenants often overlook. In some cases, they may not even be aware they are responsible for its upkeep.
6) Roof and ceiling space space
Roofs will be inspected to ensure the roofs are in good condition and free from leaks. Furthermore, I will also check the roof structure and geysers located above the ceiling if access is available.
Information for Landlords and property management companies
Regular rental property inspections can help landlords and property management companies manage their rental inventory properly. They are able to keep control of costs and identifying areas for concern before they become major issues. Therefore, by utilising rental inspections, your property portfolio is being properly cared for. They help to protect the value of your investment while helping establish who is responsible for the cost of repairs.
How much does a property inspection cost?
The cost of a rental property inspection will depend on the size of the property and the amount of time the inspection may take.
How long does a rental property inspection report take?
This will depend on the size of the property and its location. Generally speaking, a rental property inspection should take no more than 1 hour for a small house or flat. Usually, a medium-sized house may take 1½ to 2 hours. Furthermore, a large house with a garage may take up to 2 to 3 hours. If I find serious issues, I may take longer to establish the exact cause of the problem.
What are landlords responsibilities?
The landlord is legally responsible to ensure the property is safe and comfortable to live in. He or she can do this with regular rental property inspections.
The landlord is responsible for checking the following:
- Ensuring the external structure of the property is free from structural defects. The landlord pays for the cost of repairs to the structure if necessary.
- Making sure all basins, baths, toilets and other bathroom fittings are working correctly.
- Checking the hot water and heating systems are working properly.
- Having a registered gas installer regularly check all gas appliances, pipes and flues and fixes defects immediately.
- Ensuring all electrical wiring is safe and electrical appliances supplied as part of the lease are checked for defects.
- For rectifying any damage that is caused by tradesmen attempting repairs.
Do I have to pay for an aborted inspection?
I will charge the landlord for an aborted property inspection. Therefore, a landlord may charge you for a property inspection if you don’t allow access at the arranged time.
What is the notice period for rental property inspections?
The Rental Housing Act stipulates that landlords must provide reasonable notice for inspection before entering the property. In most cases, your landlord or letting agent will give you more notice prior to inspection.
What rights do tenants have regarding inspections?
The landlord or his appointed agent has a right to enter the property to do routine rental property inspections. However, they will have to arrange with the tenant to do so at a reasonable time, and with reasonable notice. In addition, the landlord may not enter the property without the tenant’s consent, which may not unreasonably be withheld.
Furthermore, the landlord may charge you for an aborted inspection if you deny the landlord or his agent access at the time arranged. In addition, this charge may also be levied if you do not turn up. Therefore, it is always best to keep a cordial relationship with your landlord to prevent disputes like this from occurring.
Regular rental property inspections are important if landlords and property management companies are to operate profitably. Furthermore, they can identify problems with both tenants and properties before they become a major issue. This helps to reduce maintenance costs and expensive court cases.
Inspected Once, Inspected Right!®