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The ultimate property inspection checklist for landlords

The Independent Landlord Property Inspection Checklist

It is vital for landlords (or letting agents) to carry out regular thorough property inspections to see whether any repairs are required. It’s also important to check whether the tenants are also holding up their end of the bargain by looking after the property and not breaking the terms of the tenancy agreement.

However, it’s easy to overlook something when carrying out a checklist, which is why I have created The Independent Landlord Property Inspection Checklist for landlords to download and use.

In this blog post, I explain how landlords can use my property checklist and what to look out for. It’s suitable for use in single let houses and flats. I plan to do another checklist for HMOs.

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Why effective property inspections are important for landlords

Carrying out effective inspections, or “maintenance visits” as I prefer to call them, are a fundamental part of being a good and effective landlord. I prefer the term “maintenance visits” as it shows the focus is on ensuring the property remains in good condition, and remains a nice place for the tenants to live in.

Regular inspections enable landlords or their agents to see for themselves the condition of the property, as tenants can be reluctant to report seemingly minor issues like a leaking tap, which may quickly big issues if the tap is not repaired or replaced. Yet, it’s vital to find out what needs repairing, as it’s usually cheaper and easier to fix a small leak, than wait until it’s a big leak that has caused joists to rot and mould to set in.

Property inspections help renters know the expectations of the landlord in terms of how they need to look after the property. This means there should be few surprises for either party at the end of the tenancy. The landlord or agent should encourage the tenant to be forthcoming about what needs repair by asking if there are any little niggling things that need sorting. It’s far better to know about potential problems earlier rather than later. It’s also an opportunity for the tenant to ask questions, and for the landlord / agent to give advice about (say) dealing with condensation or whether shrubs in the garden need pruning.

Inspections provide an opportunity for the landlord to check if there have been any breaches of the tenancy agreement, eg evidence of smoking inside, unauthorised sub-letting, unauthorised occupants or even a cannabis farm. Unauthorised subletting can expose a landlord to lots of risks, including turning the property into an unlicensed HMO. It’s therefore important to look out for the signs of subletting during the visit. It’s also likely to be a condition of your insurance policy that you carry out inspections as permitted under the tenancy agreement.

>> Related Post: What are landlords’ obligations to repair?

>> Related Post: How to handle subletting

Design of The Independent Landlord Property Inspection Checklist

I designed this checklist so that you could print it off before you go, and make notes on it as you go around. It’s easy to use, with a binary “Yes/No” and “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” to make it quick to complete. There’s a lot of space on each page if you want to record whether something is in between, or whether you want to make a comment or record what actions are required either by the landlord or by the tenant.

As well as a general questions, there are separate pages for most parts of the property. This means if you have more than one bedroom is reception room, you can print off the page for the reception rooms and bedroom as many times as you like.

Not everything will be relevant, but it gives you an idea of the things to look for. It’s a good idea to take along the original inventory with you, which you can use as a checklist as well. Take photos of anything that needs repair or maintenance, even if it’s the tenant’s responsibility. You can file the photos with your written record of the inspection, which may be useful in the event of an insurance claim or legal action.

>> Download: The Independent Landlord Property Inspection Checklist

Sections of The Independent Landlord Property Inspection Checklist

Here is an overview of each section of the property inspection checklist – download the checklist here.

>> Related Post: How to carry out successful mid-tenancy inspections

  • Overview of property, safety, security, entrance/exit and common parts.
    • This records the address, the details of who carried out the inspection, the date, and the names of people present other than the person carrying out the inspection. This will usually be the tenant, but another occupier (permitted or otherwise) may be there.
    • Check the alarms and that the external locks work properly, the condition of the entrance, exit, hall, stairs and landlord are also on this page.
    • If the property is a flat, you can comment on the common parts. It’s important to record if all the fire exists are free from obstruction. Often in flats there can be a lot of “stuff” by the front door, that might pose a fire hazard.
    • Take a good look at the flooring, handrails and bannisters to make sure they are free from hazards.
  • Reception rooms and bedrooms
    • This page has been designed to be suitable for the reception rooms and bedrooms, and you can print off as many pages as you need.
    • There are boxes to record the general cleanliness and whether there has been any damage by the tenants.
    • Make sure you note any observations and what actions are required, whether they are for the landlord or the tenant.
  • Kitchen
    • This is a specific checklist for the kitchen to make sure you record systematically the condition and cleanliness of the various parts of the kitchen, including any appliances supplied by the landlord.
    • There are often issues in kitchens, so it’s important to be thorough.

  • Bathroom, shower room, toilet, en suite
    • This is a detailed checklist for every part of the bathroom.
    • Damp and mould can be a problem in bathrooms, so do check the extractor is working and that the tenants are cleaning the bathroom thoroughly.
    • Check the sealant to make sure everything is watertight as small leaks from showers and baths can cause a lot of damage.
  • Cellar and loft/attic (if applicable)
    • Check any cellar and loft for signs of pests (eg mice and rats), rubbish, signs of damp or water penetration.
    • I always look up in the loft to check if I can see daylight – a sign the roof has a hole that needs repairing.
    • If the tenants won’t give access, it might be a sign it’s being used as a cannabis farm. Do look for signs of cultivation.

  • Garden / yard / terrace / outside space
    • This is a detailed checklist of what to look for in the outside space.
    • The condition of the garden is often a source of dispute at the end of a tenancy.
    • This is an opportunity to give gardening tips and to remind them they need to mow the lawn and weed the beds.
    • Have a look inside the bins to see if it looks like they are managing their waste appropriately.

  • Exterior of building
    • This page focuses on the condition of the exterior of the building.

  • Other checks and record of comments made or concerns raised by tenant
    • The final boxes are for signs of smoking, pets, unauthorised occupiers (which could turn the property into an unlicensed HMO), a visual check of the boiler and heating, noting of any fire risks.
    • There is a specific box to record concerns raised by the tenant.

  • Summary of actions for landlord and tenants, and signatures
    • The final page summarises the actions for both the landlord and tenant.
    • The person doing the inspection should sign and date it. If the tenant is present, they should sign and date it as well.

>> Related Post: Which repairs and maintenance are the tenants’ responsibility?

What to do after you have completed the Property Inspection Checklist

Write to confirm results of inspection

Always write to your tenants to provide them with a copy of the completed checklist. Your email or letter confirm whether the inspection revealed any issues which need addressing (eg repairs, damage, breach of contract), and to record any instructions you gave them.

If there are serious issues due to their actions or inactions, send a formal letter which details any areas of concern and spells out what they need to do or what action you will take.

Complete follow up actions

Be sure to follow up on the next steps outlined in your inspection report, for instance, book in the repairs or arrange a follow-up inspection. You should review this before your next inspection, and summarise in the next report whether the actions had been addressed.

If the tenants needed to take some action, follow up in a few weeks time (or sooner if urgent) to check that they have done what they needed to do.

The Ultimate property Inspection Checklist for Landlords

6 thoughts on “The ultimate property inspection checklist for landlords”

  1. Thank you for the check list. Do I still need this even if I have an agent (fully managed.) I was surprised that my agent arrived at my first inspection
    Without any paperwork or checklist. Hence they missed the outside of the property. It was my first inspection, (I will be attending all inspections with my agent) and I missed it too as the inspection was a lot to take in, with unreported damages only after 3 months!!!🤦‍♀️

    1. Your agent should have their own checklist to go through it methodically. I would make a complaint as you’re paying for them to do a proper job, and they missed things. Why do you still use them? If they’re in breach of contract you might be able to argue they should release you (see https://theindependentlandlord.com/terminate-letting-agent/).

      You are right to go with the agent. It always astounds me that landlords trust agents to do it. At a minimum landlords should go with the agent at least once a year. The landlord will know what work has been done and will be able to plan future work. Far better to nip things in the bud.

  2. great checklist – it is actually very useful for my HMOs as well – so Thank You for spending the time and preparing such a comprehensive list!

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