CONGRATULATIONS – you have a tenant who has signed the lease and paid the deposit and moved into your property.
Now you can just sit back and forget about it and collect the rent.
Well – you can if you wish, but what about your investment? You have tens of thousands of pounds tied up in the property – and someone else is looking after it.
You would be wise to have the property inspected on a regular basis, but that said you cannot just go letting yourself in to have a quick look around either. Not unless you want to have a chat with the local constabulary.
As a landlord you have a right in law to conduct regular visit of your property – but what regular is, rather inconveniently, not particularly well defined in law.
A letting agent should have given you advice to build the frequency of your planned visits into your lease agreement, so both you and your tenant know and understand when they are likely to occur. And if you have decided to use the ongoing services of a letting agent, they will do these visits for you and report back to you.
You do have to give the tenant notice of a planned visit – DO NOT just turn up and let yourself in. It may be your house but it is NOT your home. The tenant has the right to be there and also for inspections to be at a mutually convenient time. Of course, if they are happy for you to look around while they are not there, then that is fine – but that is their call, not yours. Many people – especially single women – find the idea very uncomfortable.
Tenants also have the right to be able to live a quiet life so going too often can disrupt this – more than once every three months would seem to be pushing the boundaries by many people’s standards.
It is also worth remembering what the visit is for – it is to check the condition of your property. This works two ways – firstly making sure there has been no damage from the tenants, but secondly ensuring that you are also keeping your property well maintained yourself. The tenant may be responsible for wallpaper ripped off by their toddler but you are responsible for fixing any missing roofing tiles that have blown off the house. The tenant may well use the inspection as a good time to discuss maintenance.
What it is not for, however, is judging how the tenant chooses to live. If they are untidy slobs who like living surrounded by pizza boxes and unwashed laundry, that is entirely their choice provided the property is returned to you in good condition at the end of the tenancy.
One suggestion for longer standing tenants would be to agree regular visits early on in the tenancy, but once they have proved themselves as reliable and respectful occupiers, drop the frequency down to longer periods.
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Paul Long (Director & Author of The Sidcup Property Blog)