Thursday 1 March 2018

Should Chichester’s landlords bother inspecting their properties?

I’ve been jam-packed with ‘tenancy check-ups’ in the past couple of weeks (I don’t like calling them inspections; it sounds intrusive towards the tenants). They are an extremely important part of successfully managing a tenancy; helping to ensure your property is in tip-top condition and your tenants are happy in their home.

My standard process is to call a new tenant after a week to see if they’ve settled in ok and whether there are any ‘teething issues’ they’ve discovered at the property. When the first month’s rent is in there’s another chance to contact the tenants; telling them their first standing order payment was received ok and to check if everything is running smoothly their end.

Initially I’ll conduct a tenancy check-up every three months. Inspecting the property is obviously important at this stage to gain an idea as to how it is being treated by the tenants. But, just as important is to see how the property is treating the tenants too. Have they met the neighbours? Have the utilities been set-up? Are there any issues with anything? Testing the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is also sensible, as is checking that the tenants are happy with how the appliances and heating function.

Hopefully your tenants have been paying their rent and are looking after the property. If not, now is the time to raise these concerns and what the consequences will be if their actions continue.

If after the first few quarterly check-ups the tenants are clearly looking after the property and paying their rent on time each month, I’ll normally stretch the visits to every six months. If there are any concerns with a particular property or set of tenants I’ll continue to visit quarterly. All this needs a little common-sense towards the type of property and the tenants, but don’t visit too frequently; not only is it intrusive to what is the tenants home, but it can be deemed as harassment if you’re visiting every month!

Don’t be slack in visiting your property just because the rent is always paid on time though. Earlier this year a landlord in Kent was in the news having not visited his property for 12 years because of this find thousands of empty cans and piles of rotting food in the flat because the tenant couldn’t access the communal bins!

Whilst my tenants know they can call, text or e-mail me anytime, often they won’t bother me with minor maintenance issues until I visit them. Sure, I now need to fix a broken extractor fan at a property I visited last week that I knew nothing about. But that’s far better (and cheaper) than getting a phone call next Winter about the black mould in the bathroom caused by the excess moisture in the room.

Whether you use a letting agent or self-manage your rental property, be sure someone visits the property and interacts with your tenants to ensure everything is running smoothly. If you’d like the burden of this task taken away from you by a competent letting agent, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.


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(This article was featured in the Chichester Observer's property section on 1st February 2018) 

Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings.


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