Annual Inspections and the Cost of Tenant Changeovers
In this short article, I look at annual inspections, why we do them and what we look for. I also look at the costs of tenant changeovers, when one tenancy ends and another starts.
We do annual inspections on our properties, usually just ahead of Winter, normally in late October or November.
Apart from that we do not bother the tenants.
When we do these inspections, the purpose is to see if anything needs fixing. We are mainly looking at the exterior of the property, but we also look internally to see if there are signs of water ingress or damp that may indicate a damaged roof, guttering or the like. Of course, we ask the tenant to look out for these things too.
Condensation caused by damp which is due to the tenant’s failing to adequately heat and ventilate their home is another matter – and we must deal directly with that. To reduce the chances of it even happening, we give the tenants a guide to reducing condensation and damp that is inserted into their tenancy agreement, so they can never say they were never told what to do.
Also, the annual inspection meetings are a chance to chat to the tenants and find how things are going. These are friendly but not over-friendly. We try to be accommodating but we will not accede to all tenant requests.
If the property is a mess, it is not our job to tell the tenants to tidy up, (this is none of our business), though we will expect it tidy and clean whenever they come to leave.
If there is any necessity for us to go to see a property at some other point, which we might need to do if there is a big maintenance job that requires us to be present to assess works needed, we may use that as an opportunity to do a general inspection then, in which case the annual late autumn one will not need to be done, if the previous visit was close in time.
We always prefer the tenants to be there when we do these annual inspections.
Tenant Changeovers – and the Costs Arising
Also, of course, there are tenant changeovers where one tenant(s) leaves and another tenancy begins.
We generally leave anything between 2 days and 10 days between tenancies for any works that need to be done – even if it is just to allow time for us to do a really thorough inspection.
When the property is empty between tenancies, one does see a whole lot more things than cannot be seen at annual inspections, when things may be inadvertently hidden by the tenants’ stuff.
And of course, we know, if we happen to not spot anything, the new tenants will certainly tell us anyway as soon as they move in.
We often find that the old tenants will live with a lot of stuff that is not working right. Examples might be a gas outlet on a hob that does not light or low boiler pressure that needs topping up regularly.
They may put up with it. The new tenants who are moving in won’t.
So, these are also things we also like to check as part of our annual inspections.
Thus, whenever there is a tenant changeover, we always find a fair bit of work to do. In fact, we budget to spend a whole month of rent either between tenancies or in the first month of the new tenancy.
Usually, though, there is more than adequate compensation because a change of tenancy is a great opportunity to put the rent up to market levels. Whilst a tenancy is running, we tend to keep rent increases lower than the inflation rate in local rents, so changes of tenancy is always a great time to get back to market levels.
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