Why do landlords need to do an annual check-up? (And what should they check?)

We’ve all seen the horror stories about renters who return a property at the end of their tenancy in a state of total disrepair.

In fact, a little while back we even took a look at seven of the strangest things landlords have been left by their tenants.

And when landlords are left with mess or a damaged property (or indeed a 50st pig – as included in our article above), it leaves landlords having to use their time and money to either roll up their sleeves and do the work themselves, or hire someone to get it back up to scratch.

Both of these options are best avoided – and perhaps the best way of doing this is to inspect the property on a regular basis and nip any issues in the bud.

You can do an annual check-up yourself or check to see if your letting agent is doing it as part of the contract they signed to manage the property.

At the very least, aim for an annual review – although you may decide that bi-annual or even quarterly is preferrable.

Here, we outline four key steps that you can take to ensure that you’re not one of the landlords left picking up a tenant’s mess when they move out:

  • Check each room in line with the tenancy agreement
  • Don’t forget the hallway and stairs
  • Inspect the outside of the property, including the garden and driveway
  • Check the outside of the property

1. Check each room in line with the tenancy agreement

It may be tempting to walk into a room and approve it with a quick glance.

But use the tenancy agreement to thoroughly check each aspect of the room, from marks on the walls and furniture, to damaged lampshades and broken door handles.

2. Don’t forget the hallway and stairs

As you move from room to room, don’t forget the areas in between.

Look at whether carpets have been damaged on the staircase or extra picture hooks that are not permitted have appeared on the walls.

3. Inspect the outside of the property, including the garden and driveway

Maintenance of a garden is more than just cutting the grass, so check that areas have been properly weeded, including around the driveway.

To get someone in at the end of the tenancy to restore a garden will often take several visits, with certain pruning only being able to take place at certain times of the year – a cost that could ultimately eat heavily into your profits.

4. Check the outside water pipes

The outside water pipes need to be turned on during the winter months, to stop them freezing.

It’s worth calling a plumber if you’re uncomfortable handling this yourself, while your water company should handle any burst or frozen pipe outside of your property boundary.

If you’d prefer to sort this yourself, Water UK offer advice for prevention, treatment, and emergencies.

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