Reen Anderson Solicitors

How to Carry Out an Effective Property Inspection

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If you’re a landlord, you will be keen to ensure that your property or properties are kept in a good enough condition to provide your tenants with decent living accommodation – and you with the wherewithal to keep earning money. One of the most effective ways to do this is carrying out regular property inspections. However, a property inspection has to be done in a certain way, and include certain aspects to make them both legal and fair to you and any tenants who are in situ.

What you are allowed to do during a property inspection

According to the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985, landlords, or their representatives, are allowed to enter a property that they have let with the express intention to view its condition and check for signs of wear and tear. However, the landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours’ written notice and arrange the inspection for a ‘reasonable’ time of day.

Performing these checks is essential to ensure that any repairs can be done sooner, rather than later, to prevent any damage from getting worse. It also offers tenants a great opportunity to discuss any concerns they have about the property with the landlord and make suggestions for anything requiring attention. Finally, it gives the landlord a chance to check that their tenants are looking after the property as per the terms of their contract. It is important for landlords to respect their tenants’ privacy, however, and not to carry out these types of checks too often, or take too long about it.

What to look for during a property inspection

Although you will not want to hang around for too long during a property inspection and inconvenience your tenants, it is still important that you cover everything that you need to, in order to make sure that all is well with your property and its contents. Drawing up a checklist in advance can help you stay on track, move quickly through everything and not miss anything out that requires you to go back again on another date. This can be grouped into a number of key areas. Here are seven to think about.

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While you cannot expect your tenants to keep everything completely spotless and uncluttered all the time, you can expect a reasonable level of basic hygiene and evidence that they are caring for your property. Some issues around cleanliness can be tactfully ignored, while others can prove troublesome if left unchecked. For example, leaving food waste out can attract pests and unpleasant odours that can be hard to get out of walls and soft furnishings.

Pest control

Talking of food waste, this isn’t the only thing that can attract pests. Overflowing bins, unkempt pets and general clutter can lead to unwanted critters as well, such as ants, fleas or rats. Watch out for damp areas, stagnant water or excess humidity as this can encourage cockroaches and slugs to set up home. Cracks and gaps in the walls can also be attractive to woodlice, while woodworm encroaching into your paintwork or furniture is also a highly annoying pest, which is very difficult to shift.


If you provide appliances as part of the tenancy agreement for your property, it is your responsibility to make sure that these are all in good working order. Arrange for any services that are due and check that your tenant is happy with how the appliances are working. You should supply the operator’s manual to help them figure out how everything operates. For any gas equipment, landlords are legally obliged to keep them maintained and to have them checked and maintained annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The gas safety certificate must be provided to the tenant within 28 days of the check.

Fire safety

Fire safety is a very important item on the landlord’s property inspection checklist. All rented properties must have a working smoke alarm and the inspection is a good opportunity to change the batteries and test that all alarms are operating properly. Check that carbon monoxide alarms are also present and correct in any rooms that have solid-fuel burning appliances in them. Finally, check that fire exits are accessible and not blocked by clutter or furniture. You may also wish to discuss a fire escape plan with your tenants so they know what to do in an emergency.


Finally, once you have done a thorough check internally, head outside to look at your property from the exterior. Look for signs of damage or cracks to the walls and windows. See if there is any obvious damage on the roof and around the paths and driveways too. Watch out for signs of water leaks and other related problems, such as blocked drains or damp patches on the walls. As winter approaches, make sure that any fragile pot plant holders, garden ornaments etc. are brought inside or covered with insulating material to keep them safe from any frost and snow.


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