Tenancy Inspections Under the Terms of a Tenancy Agreement
Landlord and tenant solicitor, Nollienne Alparaque, says many tenants do not read the small print of their tenancy agreements to appreciate that they are agreeing to tenancy inspections during the course of their tenancy agreement. Equally, many landlords do not exercise their rights to carry out regular tenancy inspections. A failure to carry out tenancy inspections can lead to repair problems not being spotted and even, at the end of the tenancy agreement, to deposit disputes.
In this article we take a look at the topic of tenancy inspections under the terms of a tenancy agreement and how they can be useful for both a landlord and tenant.
UK Online and London Based Landlord and Tenant Solicitors
Who carries out a tenancy inspection?
A landlord can carry out a tenancy inspection if it is part of the terms of the tenancy agreement that the landlord and tenant both signed up to. If a landlord is using a letting agent who is providing a managed letting service, then it is usual for the letting agent to conduct the tenancy inspections and most letting agents will complete a standard checklist and produce pictures as evidence of the inspection. If you are a landlord who is not using a letting agent it is equally important to be organised with a checklist and a tenancy inspection schedule so inspections take place and you do not miss aspects that require inspection at the property.
Whilst a landlord may have a right to conduct a tenancy inspection as part of the tenancy agreement it is important to remember that you are inspecting someone’s home, even if you as the landlord are the legal owner of the property. Therefore, if you are conducting a tenancy inspection, it is important to understand that a tenant may feel as if their home and privacy is being invaded by your presence at the property whilst also being mindful of the need to be thorough so that you spot potential issues before they become a problem for the tenant and an expensive repair bill for you.
The frequency of tenancy inspections
Many tenancy agreements specify the frequency of tenancy inspections and organised landlords and letting agents will provide the tenant with a schedule at the start of the tenancy agreement so that the tenant understands the timescale for inspections and can arrange convenient dates and times. Two key inspection points are at the start of the tenancy agreement and towards the end of the tenancy agreement. Ensuring that you take evidence of the state of the property during tenancy inspections means that there is less risk of a tenancy deposit dispute over allegations that a tenant has not maintained a property or a garden. Evidence gained during an inspection gives you a base point for the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy agreement.
Can a landlord carry out a tenancy inspection if tenancy inspections were not included as part of the tenancy agreement?
Some tenancy agreements do not specifically state that a landlord will carry out periodic inspection visits and that can lead to tenants questioning if their landlord has the legal right to do so.
The Housing Act 1988 states that a tenant has the right to peaceful enjoyment of their rented property but a landlord does have a right to view the property to check the state of repair of the property and carry out required checks, such as the statutory annual gas check. However, a landlord does not have the right to carry out regular routine tenancy inspections unless that was agreed in the tenancy agreement signed by landlord and tenant.
Does a landlord need to give notice of a tenancy inspection?
Whether the tenancy agreement states that inspections will take place or not, a landlord or their letting agent must give reasonable notice that they are going to go into a rental property. The only exception is where a landlord needs to carry out urgent repairs. For example, if a neighbour has reported water leaking into their flat or similar urgent issue that could affect the tenant’s safety or the safety of the building.
Ideally, notice of a tenancy inspection should be in writing but this could be by text or email. At least twenty-four hours’ notice should be given of the planned visit and a landlord should accept if a date is not convenient to the tenant.
What should be checked during a tenancy inspection?
A tenancy inspection should be for the benefit of both the landlord and tenant. For the tenant, the inspection should check to see if repairs are needed. This is also of benefit to the landlord because early identification of problems can ensure that a minor repair issue does not become a major repair and expense because of lack of routine maintenance.
A landlord or letting agent can also use the tenancy inspection to check that the tenant is complying with the terms of their tenancy agreement and to ensure that if there are any issues they are addressed. For example, a landlord could spot condensation issues that could be resolved by tenant education over opening windows before the condensation issue develops into a mould problem.
Communicating over tenancy inspections
Tenancy inspections can be a positive experience for landlord and tenant as they can help spot issues before they become a problem and can ensure that a landlord and tenant maintain a dialogue that in turn encourages communication over whether the tenant is intending to give notice to end their tenancy agreement or will be asking to renew the tenancy agreement.
UK Online and London Based Landlord and Tenant Solicitors
For advice on tenancy inspections or an initial consultation on any aspect of landlord and tenant law call the expert London landlord and tenant lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.