Although the responsibility of the tenant and landlord should be outlined in the tenancy agreement, there may be times where this is subject to change and a landlord might request to inspect your property. A landlord must be sure that their investment is being cared for properly and if they suspect this is not the case then they may want to look into it.
Over the years there have been many documented cases of tenants severely damaging property and supplied furniture. In extreme cases, some landlords have entered properties only to discover that the tenant on the lease is not actually there and strangers are living in the property instead.
These things are usually hidden from the landlord until the end of the tenancy agreement OR if the tenant abandons their lease and flees the property. If a landlord frequently inspects a property they can protect themselves against breaches in tenancy agreement.
There is, however, no legal entitlement for a landlord to undertake a mid-tenancy inspection so how can they get around this in a way that allows them to remain protected without breaching the rights of the tenant?
Having a properly drafted tenancy agreement which includes a term that enables a landlord to carry out inspections of the property every four months or so will protect the landlord and encourage the tenant to be more reliable. It will also mean that the tenant has no right to prevent you from accessing the property.
In the case of an inspection a landlord must give an acceptable notice period (usually a week) outlining the date and time of the visit. Unannounced visits could be considered harassment so are strongly advised against. The time of the visit should be within normal working hours and should state that, if the time and date are inconvenient, then the tenant must contact the landlord to make alternative arrangements. NB. There is always a chance that the tenant is on holiday or working away from home when you issue the appointment so if they do not answer the door then try issuing another notice.
Good tenants will have nothing to hide and should be most obliging, but be aware of obstructive tenants and issue caution. The Housing Act allows the agent to enter property to carry out necessary repairs only and not for routine inspections. You are, therefore, beholden to the tenant to gain access to the property if you do not wish to be sued. If a tenant proves particularly difficult then you are within your rights to deny a renewal of tenancy.
When inspecting the property a walk around it should be enough to discover if furnishings are being cared for and the property is being regularly cleaned. Take the opportunity (if the tenant is there) to ask about any maintenance issues they may have or if breakages have occurred. If the tenant is not there and someone else is in their place then politely enquire who they are as they may be illegally subletting and can be evicted.
On the other hand, if tenants report a problem to their landlord, the landlord has the responsibility to repair the problem within a reasonable time. This is considered to be within eight months. The landlord is responsible for the outside of the property as well as heating, plumbing, water and other appliances. They are required to do everything possible to make the house a safe environment for the tenant.
Communication is the key to a successful landlord/tenant relationship and reporting a problem as early as possible will allow a landlord to act more quickly. Similarly, a landlord should respect a tenant’s privacy and only carry out the required checks in order to be assured their property is in safe hands. In return they should get a much better response from their tenant.
‘Simple Landlords Insurance’