Landlord obligations - why regular inspections are key

The rental sector is booming! Current tenants are switching properties to accommodate working from home. Added to that the stamp duty holiday has encouraged home owners to sell up and temporarily rent until they find their dream home. All in all, it’s a great time to be a landlord!

The increased demand, though, has thrown a spotlight on the industry leading local authorities and Trading Standards to take a stricter approach to enforcing compliance in the sector. This has been backed by an additional £4 million in funding to 100 councils at the beginning of 2020. This money can be used by councils to advise tenants of their housing rights and take enforcement action against rogue landlords. We would therefore expect to see increased regulatory activity by local authorities in some areas of the country.

Landlords legal requirements
All private landlords and letting agents need to ensure their properties meet the legal and sector regulations, are safe and in a habitable condition.

The landlord is legally required to hold a current gas safety certificate and energy performance certificate (EPC) for their property before they can offer an assured shorthold tenancy.

Further legislation this year has introduced Electrical Safety Standards for rented properties that need to be reviewed every 5 years and a minimum compulsory EPC ratings for properties marketed for let.

Keeping up to date with the legal requirements and ensuring compliance is becoming a full time job so the last thing landlords need is problems with their properties.

Benefits of regular rental property inspections
Generally tenants will report any issues directly to their landlord or letting agent. However, our experience shows that these tend to be ones that are more serious like a water leak, broken electrical appliance or faulty smoke alarm.

Minor issues are sometimes left until the tenancy agreement comes to an end. This can lead to disagreements around the return of the tenancy deposit and the ability for the landlord to re-let their property quickly.

Landlords should therefore be encouraged to inspect their properties regularly to avoid any breach in compliance and regulations.

How often should a landlord inspect the property?
Comprehensive property inspections carried out mid tenancy or every three to six months can highlight any issues that need to be addressed before they escalate.

Reports on the overall condition of the property, contents and inventories, checks on who is living there and if any maintenance is required can prove invaluable to keeping you compliant. Properly documented and evidenced these inspection reports can protect your tenant, ensure your rental income is not interrupted and ensure tenancy turnarounds are hassle-free for you as the landlord.

Storing such reports can provide an easy way to monitor activity from previous inspections, which you can recall if required.

Hassle free property management
At Poole Townsend we offer inspections every three months as part of our Fully Managed service with many of our landlords seeing this as an invaluable part of letting their properties through our agency.

Our Let Only Plus option allows our landlords to utilise the parts of our fully management service whilst keeping the ones they are happy to deal with themselves.

Letting property doesn’t have to be a headache. We offer hassle free property management that meets your landlord obligations and helps you make the most of your investment.

See our management options on our dedicated landlords page.

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