Letting Agents and Interim Property Visits
Date: 13/3/17 Category: Inventory Services, Property Visits
Property Visits or Mid Term Inspections happen throughout the tenancy and check on the maintenance and general condition of the property. By visiting the properties frequently throughout the tenancy you can check that nothing untoward is happening and catch any issues that could become large money pits.
There are numerous areas within a rental property that require frequent checks. The list grows as the property does, studio flats have fewer places to check, but as rooms are added so are the checks.
Arranging and carrying out a midterm property visit can be a very involved process. For a letting agent, this could become much more work than anticipated, taking up much time and resources. The time planning and then conducting the visits will take up much time, could this time be better managed? For instance, a third party company who will do all the legwork and conducting the inspections can save you a lot of time, which could be put to better use getting more tenants into any empty properties on their list.
For a letting agent, you need to keep both the tenant and the landlord happy, you are effectively the middleman. To keep both parties happy you have to ensure that the property is kept in good condition. The tenant wants somewhere clean and issue free to make a home and the landlord needs the property kept well so that they can keep current tenants for longer periods of time, meaning more income, but if only short tenancies are held then they need to be filled fast. By keeping the property maintained and fixing any issues that occur as soon as they do, the likelihood that these issues will cause a stain on the tenuous relationship between the parties is very slim.
However the only way to achieve this to do conduct property inspections, they can save the landlord potentially thousands of pounds at the end of the tenancy. For the tenant, they can potentially save them their deposit, as issues can be reported during the property inspection and used if any cases go to the TDS.
Arranging a Property Inspection
As most tenants work 9-5 jobs it can become increasingly difficult to reach tenants to arrange a property inspection, then when you finally get hold of the tenant you get to begin negotiation on when the inspection will take place. The time has to be suitable for each party, but you also want to have the visit co-inside before the sun goes down, (florescent lights can hide issues within rooms).
If no permission is given for the visit to take place, with either the tenant or with the management keys, you can be in a very hard place to arrange the inspection. In accordance with the Housing Act of 1988, you are unable to access the property unless there is an emergency. Even with 24 hours written notice if the tenant does not agree for the inspection to go ahead you are not allowed to enter the property. You need the permission of the tenant to conduct the inspection. The cycle of trying to arrange the inspection that is suitable for both parties can end up taking weeks to arrange. For a letting agent, this could damage the relationship between tenant and agent but also landlord and agent, the end result could end up losing both parties when the contract comes to an end.
When you have finally managed to arrange a property inspection you then have to conduct the visit. but do you really know where you need to look? Where can issues crop up?
Animals or Pets
Pets are generally a very easy spot is the garden dug up? Or pet bowls and toys lurking in corners? But don’t forget to keep your eyes out for smaller critters.
If the property has multiple occupants it can make it harder to spot if there is subletting going on. Quick check; how many toothbrushes are in the bathroom? Or are there a very large number of shoes in the hallway?
Damages and Mould
Then there are the all too common issues associated with properties; do you know the starting signs of mould? How to spot small leaks? Or what cracks in the walls and ceiling are structural?
You will need to check on all of these points and many more in each room of the property, not forgetting the garden, outside of the property and any out buildings. An issue in one room may not be present in another, or the problems may be persistent throughout the property, this can suggest underlying issues.
Don’t forget to check on the condition of your furniture if it is furnished, the costs of replacing furniture can be quite expensive.
A Final Thought
In essence planning and conducting a property visit takes time and a lot of it, the main question is really do you have the time to spare?
At Hinch Property Management we do all of this for you and compile it all into an easy to read property visit report, with photographs of any issues. We plan, contact and conduct the visits. Giving tenants several dates to choose from allows for less pressure of the tenant to take time off of work. Then our clerks attend the property to carry out the inspection, they know what issues to look out for and all the nooks and crannies that can hide maintenance issues. 48hrs after the report is conducted we will send the report to either the letting agent or landlord. Then in three to six months, the process begins all over again.