When a tenant vacates a property, it is good practice for a landlord to carry out an inspection and deal with any issues or concerns ahead of the property being occupied by a new tenant. But what exactly should a landlord be looking for? Here is our 10 point property inspection checklist that can be used between tenancies. A landlord should always fully understand the legal and health and safety obligations that they have and ensure that any property that is let in the private rented sector meets the required standards.
1. Alarms - check that all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are functioning. If the alarms are battery operated, then replace the batteries. Also ensure that the number of alarms and their location in the property comply with legislation and best practice.
2. Electrics - from July 2020 all property in the private rented sector will require a current electrical installation safety report. Notwithstanding this, it is good practice to undertake a visual inspection between tenancies. Such inspection should look to ensure that switches and sockets are not physically damaged, that the cabling to any supplied electrical goods is not damaged, there is no evidence of overheating such as burn marks or staining of plugs etc.
3. Appliances and electrical items - in addition to the electrical inspection noted above, appliances should be checked to ensure that they are fully functional and where appropriate have a current PAT test. Landlords should also ensure that the tenant has access to operating guides for any appliances supplied. If guides are lost or damaged, replacements can typically be downloaded from the suppliers website. Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that no appliance supplied with the property is subject to a product recall.
4. Plumbing - check that all plumbing is working as expected and review for evidence of leaks in areas such as under the bath, under sink etc. If the property has been vacant for some time, it is good practice to run the water to flush systems through ahead of a new tenancy (or to advise the tenant to do so before using water to drink, wash or bath). For further information, see our guidance to landlords on legionella.
5. Security - check that all door and window locks are functional and that keys (including spares) all work properly. For a flat in a block, ensure that they flat entry door lock meets fire safety requirements.
6. Health and safety - ensure that there is no evidence of damp or mould at the property, especially on perimeter walls and behind where furniture may have been located by the previous tenant. Ensure that all sanitary items are working effectively. The landlord should ensure that the property meets the standards as set out in the Homes (fitness for human habitation) Act 2018.
7. Paperwork - landlords should ensure that key documentation in support of a tenancy is in order. This includes a current EPC certificate (of e rating or higher) and a current gas safety certificate (where appropriate). Where the rented property is in a block of flats, ensure that updated 'block rules' are available together with a current evacuation plan in the event of a fire.
8. Heating system - ensure that the heating system is functioning correctly and that all radiators are working, including the valves/temperature controls on each radiator. Check the central thermostat is working and for gas boilers, ensure there is a current gas safety certificate.
9. Sll Landlord repairing responsibilities - S11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies landlord repairing obligations into the significant majority of tenancy agreements. A landlord cannot contract out of these obligations. Under the Act, the landlord must keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling house and also keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling house for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating, and heating water. To comply with the act, the landlord will need to conduct an inspection of the not just the inside of the property, but also the external condition of the property and undertake any repairs as required under the Act. Please note, that the application of S11 repairing obligations for blocks of flats is a complex legal area and landlords should ensure that they obtain advice on the matter including where appropriate, legal advice.
10. Tenant toolkit - finally, take the time to ensure that you pull together an up to date 'tenant toolkit' advising the tenant of their obligations, what to do in an emergency, critical contact numbers, etc. A comprehensive tenant toolkit will not only ensure that your tenant is able to safely enjoy the property, but it will go a long way to helping you manage your risk as a landlord.
The above does not represent a full and complete list of legal obligations that landlords have and the checks they should perform. Any landlord renting property in the private rented sector should be fully understanding of their legal and regulatory requirements and also be knowledgeable of the Private Rented Sector Code.
For further information regarding any of the above matters, please contact our Lettings and Management team on 01903 259961.
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Important note for landlords – The above blog is provided for information purposes and guidance only and does not represent the full extent of legal obligations and duties placed on landlords. Landlords should seek appropriate advice and, where necessary, legal advice before renting property in the Private Rented Sector. The use of information provided in this blog is subject to the terms and conditions of use of our website.