Tenancy Inspection visits
Should you take photographs when you do tenancy inspection visits of your let property, asks David Lawrenson of www.LettingFocus.com?
This can be a tricky one, but need not be if you are sensitive and respectful.
Tenancy Inspection Visits
We aim to do an inspection visit around 3 months after the start of a tenancy and then once more after another 6 months.
If it is clear from these visits that the tenants are looking after the property very well and if we are confident that they are the sort of tenants who will promptly spot and report to us anything that needs attention – such as a missing roof tile or a broken gutter – we will then leave our visits to once a year at most – and even then, we will only inspect the property from the outside.
This makes good tenants feel it is their home – which, of course, it is, for the duration of the tenancy.
In the last month of any tenancy, for all tenants we will always come round and inspect, so that the tenant has a chance to fix anything they have broken (or, if it is down to us, so we can fix it in good time for the next tenant and for viewings).
If we are less sure about the tenants ability to look after their home properly, we will inspect more frequently – at least once every 12 months going forward.
And for all tenants, good or bad, each autumn, I will send them our guide on how to avoid damp. This acts as a useful reminder.
We have a detailed checklist we use for our tenancy inspection visits – which we follow carefully. We like the tenants to be in when we do these visits, as one can always learn a lot on all sorts of matters – especially any issues in the local area. It pays to keep your ear to the ground! The visits are never wasted.
One potentially contentious issue is whether or not to take photographs of anything which relates to the property.
We would say it is OK to take photos of anything which is damaged – if only for the purpose of sending it to whichever contractor is going to to do the repair.
Tenancy Inspections – Tenant Lifestyle
But this could also include taking photos of anything that is “tenant lifestyle” related too, if by doing so, you can prevent accidents or damage in the future or to act as a defence in case of damage to the property, necessitating a possible future deduction from the tenancy deposit at the end of the tenancy.
So, if a fire escape is blocked, we would take a photo of that. If the tenants are drying clothes on radiators, (which can cause damp and mould), we would take a photo of that too. Not a close up, but a distance photo would be appropriate, in the latter case.
As far as possible, you should avoid taking photos which show any of the tenant’s personal possessions – and of course, there is no need for anyone to be “in shot” in any photo. Doing so at a tenancy inspection visit or any other visit, could be deemed to be an invasion of the tenant’s privacy and a breach of their right to “quiet enjoyment”.
We always follow up tenancy inspection visits with an email communication, highlighting anything the tenant needs to do (or which we will action). Where necessary, this will include photos.
Of course, it should go without saying that, in addition to these inspection visits during the tenancy, at the start and at the end of the tenancy, a detailed inventory is also done. This would be done by an independent, professional inventory clerk. This comprehensive document will include photos and detailed descriptions of everything in the property and comment on the state of the cleanliness too.
Without such a “before and after” tenancy inventory document, a landlord will have a very hard time trying to make a case for deductions from a tenancy deposit, if the tenant contests any such deduction.
There is a longer guide in my book, “Successful Property Letting” to all of this. See links below.
Final word: If you use an agent to do inspections for you – you should be seeing at least a brief report on their visits. If all is immaculate and the tenants are responsible, you should consider requesting less frequent visits and a commensurate cut in the letting agent’s fee.
Services for Private Landlords
We help landlords and property investors by showing them how to make money in the private rented sector using ways which are fair to tenants and which involve minimal risk. Our advice is completely independent. We take don’t commission payments or fees from anyone, ever.
Services to Businesses and the Public Sector
We advise a range of organisations too to help them develop and improve their services and products for private landlords. David Lawrenson, founder of LettingFocus, also writes for property portals, speaks at property events and is regularly quoted by the media.
HOME PAGE OF THIS BLOG: Blog
THE HOME PAGE OF THE MAIN SITE: http://www.LettingFocus.com
For general information on our CONSULTING SERVICES: Consultancy and Seminars
For ONE TO ONE PRIVATE CONSULTANCY FOR PRIVATE LANDLORDS: Property Advice
CLIENT TESTIMONIALS – from both organisations and private landlords: Testimonials
IN THE MEDIA: Recent Press Coverage
“SUCCESSFUL PROPERTY LETTING”:
Our book is the highest selling personal finance and property book in the UK. Click here to Find Out More and Buy it. And if you are from an organisation and would like to bulk buy, please ask us for special rates.
“BUY TO LET LANDLORDS GUIDE TO FINDING GREAT TENANTS”:
Also, get this great new guide here, which covers everything you’ll ever need to know to avoid either you or your letting agent getting anyone other than the perfect tenant. Click Here to Buy It.
BOOK FOR TENANTS:
Kids going off and renting for the first time? My Book for Tenants is also Available
TO JOIN OUR FREE NEWSLETTER MAILER which goes to over 3,990 people (as at Jan 2019) just send an email to [email protected]
We do not send spam or sell our mailing list to advertisers, though we occasionally mail landlords about good products from third parties. Please put us on your “white list” to ensure you receive our emails.
OFFERS ON PRODUCTS FOR LANDLORDS and TO ADVERTISE YOUR PRODUCTS to LANDLORDS: Landlords Resources
PERUSE LAST TEN BLOGS BY GETTING THE RSS FEED: Click Here
NEXT ANNUAL SEMINAR EVENT FOR LANDLORDS: Landlord and Property Letting Seminar
TWITTER PAGE My thoughts on property, personal finance, plus a lot of other random things: Twitter
Copyright of Blog: David Lawrenson 2019. Please link to us here or quote us. We actively pursue copyright infringements.