By trekproperty, Jul 23 2014 12:36PM

Please can you ask the landlord to clean the extractor?
Please can you ask the landlord to clean the extractor?

Most tenancy contracts will make provision for a mid-term inspection (periodic) of the property, to be undertaken by either the landlord personally or the landlord's nominated agent. The inspection is important to check that the tenant is maintaining a good standard of cleanliness and that the property is being kept in good condition.

Trek do a fair number of periodic inspections every month and this is more or less the procedure we follow. First, catch your tenant. Ignoring repeated phone calls and SMS messages is fairly standard practice and sometimes the landlord or agent may have to help with setting the appointment day. A tenant must have at least 24hrs notice of the inspection but we try to make appointments a week in advance. Any longer notice will usually result in the tenant forgetting and a new date having to be set!

Secondly it is important to consider the privacy of the tenant. Some clients ask that photos be taken of each room but Trek will only do this with the consent of the tenant, though few tenants object. Obviously damage or maintanence issues will be photographed as a matter of course. But we will not look inside wardrobes and drawers. We will try to exclude family photos from our room shots. And obviously make sure that the tenant or any children do not feature in any image. However I do have a bedroom shot I took without thinking featuring a nude painting of the tenant she had done for her husband's birthday! So all these privacy issues need to be considered. Some tenants request that shoes be removed. Again we are happy to oblige even if that reveals a hole in our sock!!

So what are we looking for? Generally you get an impression of the property the moment you walk in. Most tenants will make an effort to clean and tidy up before we arrive. We do not expect it to be spotless as the property is being lived in. We check that smoke alarms are still present and ask the tenant when they last checked them. We check door and window corners for any build up of mould. We check the sanitary ware for cleanliness. We ask the tenant whether there are any outstanding maintenance issues. We check for signs of over-occupation, pets and smoking. Is the decor unchanged? Is there laundry drying on radiators? Bicycles in bedrooms? Is there any obvious damage? In blocks of flats we ask whether there are any issues with the communal areas or neighbours. Finally we inspect the garden and exterior of the property and note anything that may be of interest to the landlord.

While the tenant is only expected at the end of the tenancy to return the property in the same order as at the start, a periodic inspection will give the client a good idea whether the tenant is keeping to their contractual obligations. Or perhaps the tenant just needs advice on damp management, allowing the agent or landlord opportunity to intervene before a major problem develops.

A periodic inspection is an important part of tenancy management and should not be ignored.

By trekproperty, Apr 21 2014 08:17AM

I am often amazed how many inventory clerks don't bother listing the small items in their reports, such as the humble doorstop.

A doorstop costs less than £2 so I can understand why some don't consider it an important part of a property. However a doorstop has an important function, namely to stop a door handle impacting a wall and leaving an unsightly hole in the plaster.

A landlord would be upset by damage to the plaster and may expect some compensation for remedial work. This is where the inventory needs to be clear. Was there a doorstop fitted where there is a danger of the handle impacting a wall? If not then the landlord has only himself to blame. Has the tenant broken the doorstop resulting in the damage to the plaster? Then the tenant is to blame! Or worse case, the Inventory is silent on this matter and the landlord will be left red-faced in front of the adjudicator.

If a doorstop is fitted, is it fitted in the right place? I have seen some floor-mounted doorstops fitted so close to the wall that the doorhandle still touches. And I have seen new doors refitted with large gaps underneath that just ride over the doorstop!

Does your inventory report note doorstops? Does is note how it functions? It would be negligent not to do so!

By trekproperty, Mar 31 2014 10:50AM

The photo above of a rubber glove over a heat sensor was found in an apartment block typically let to students or young professionals. Every time the tenant prepared food the alarm would go off. A rubber glove and cellotape was her solution.

Of course no alarm should be treated this way, less so in an apartment block.