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Essential Guide to Property Inspections for Landlords

Published by Susan Basnet
Posted Date: May 24, 2024 , Modified Date: May 22, 2024

Being a landlord comes with its joys and responsibilities. Beyond the satisfaction of rent collection, it also involves ensuring the safety and security of your property for your tenants. Conducting a regular periodic property inspection is a crucial aspect of this responsibility.

This article serves as your trusty guide, walking you through the nuances of property inspections and providing a comprehensive checklist for a hassle-free process.

Understanding the Basics

Renting out a property may leave you unaware of minor issues on the property or subletting by tenants without your consent. Your tenants may not report minor issues to you until they become issues big enough to affect them, and there is a slim chance of tenants reporting subletting if they did not initially do so. To address this, regular property inspections are essential.

Landlords have a legal duty to maintain and repair the properties rented out. This normally includes structural repairs, plumbing and heating, electrical systems, fire safety, gas safety and security. Tenants, on the other hand, are usually responsible for the minor repairs and maintenance of the properties. That is why landlords should make visits to the rented property at regular intervals while maintaining communication with the tenants.  Regular inspections help landlords ensure the property remains legally compliant.

Although there is no fixed time limit, a general recommendation is conducting inspections quarterly or every six months. This ensures that potential problems are identified and addressed promptly.

Property inspections, while a legal right for landlords, come with certain obligations. According to Section 9(A) of the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1985, landlords must provide a written notice of inspection at least 24 hours in advance. This notice can be delivered through various means, such as emails, texts, or letters.

Additionally, the inspection should be conducted only at reasonable times of the day, respecting the tenant's privacy and convenience.

Checklist

Since property inspections are not conducted frequently, it is crucial to ensure a thorough examination of all aspects of the property when performed. Adopting the practice of preparing a comprehensive checklist for inspection, with separate columns for each item, its status, and additional notes, proves beneficial.

Property Inspection

This systematic approach ensures a comprehensive inspection of all parts of the property while optimising time efficiency. Some of the essential areas of the property that should not be overlooked during a thorough inspection include:

Interior Inspection

During an interior inspection, each room holds its own set of crucial elements to be assessed. Following are the general areas that must be examined when carrying out an interior inspection, broken down as per the rooms:

Kitchen – During a kitchen inspection, attention should be given to ensure the functionality of various kitchen appliances and fittings, such as:

  • Cabinets and drawers
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Sink
  • Stove
  • Countertops
  • Additional equipment

Bathrooms – The areas to be inspected during the bathroom inspection are:

  • Cabinets and drawers
  • Sink
  • Cracks on walls
  • Ceiling
  • Floor
  • Toilet
  • Bath                                      
  • Outlets and switches
  • Ventilation (Exhaust Fans)

Bedrooms – A bedroom inspection should involve a thorough examination of various aspects, including the condition of:

  • Walls
  • Ceiling
  • Floor (Including carpets)
  • Outlets and switches
  • Beds
  • Mirrors

Living room - Similarly, a living room inspection should encompass an assessment of the condition of the following:

  • Baseboards
  • Ceiling
  • Fan
  • Doors
  • Floor
  • Lights
  • Outlets and switches
  • Crack on the walls
  • windows

Exterior Inspection 

Inspecting the exterior of a property is an equally vital aspect as internal inspection of the property, and it involves a thorough examination of various elements. This includes evaluating the status of paint and trim, inspecting back and front doors, assessing the driveway, and checking the house number, mailbox, parking area, sidewalks, and windows.

Property Inspection

In addition to these aspects, attention should be paid to the condition of the doorbell, outdoor lights, chimney, guttering, and downpipes.

By conducting a detailed inspection of the property's exterior, landlords can identify any issues or maintenance requirements, ensuring a safe and well-maintained living environment for tenants.

Garage Inspection

As a part of the garage inspection, the following areas must be assessed:

  • Ceiling condition
  • Status of doors
  • Floor condition
  • Lights functionality
  • Storage assessment
  • Walls condition

Systems Inspection

To ensure a safe living environment for tenants, it is crucial to inspect various appliances fitted within the property. During the property inspection, attention should be given to the following areas:

  • Smoke Detectors - Conduct a test to confirm their proper functionality.
  • Plumbing - Inspect for any leaks, assess water pressure, and check drainage.
  • Electrical Appliances - Ensure that all appliances are functioning properly.

Other Consideration

Beyond the standard property check, landlords may need to conduct additional inspections tailored as per the agreement with the tenant. For instance, if the lease agreement explicitly prohibits pets, landlords should verify during inspections that no pets are present on the property.

Similarly, engaging in conversations with tenants can help uncover any unauthorised subletting activities. As previously highlighted, the scope of such inspections depends upon the provisions outlined in the agreement.

Conclusion

In the symphony of landlord duties, property inspections create harmony between landlords and tenants. Armed with a comprehensive checklist covering interior, exterior, garage, and system inspections, landlords provide a secure haven. A well-maintained property serves as the canvas for tenants to paint their home's story, and property inspections ensure this narrative remains positive and uninterrupted.

Susan Basnet
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