LOOKING AFTER YOUR PROPERTY
However carefully you check out your tenants, you can never be sure how well they will treat your property. That’s why there are a number of steps that are well worth taking to encourage the people who live in your property to look after it, and to spot any minor issues well before they become major ones.
Don’t skip creating an inventory because it can prevent a lot of disputes and gives tenants the incentive to leave the house in the condition they found it. Quite simply, an inventory is a listing of all the contents and the condition of the property when the tenant moves in. You both need to agree and sign it, then on the day the tenant checks-out the inventory can be used to see if any damage or loss needs to be paid for.
A good way of nipping problems in the bud is to have a schedule of regular property inspections (perhaps every three months) at a time agreed with the tenant. It’s worth explaining that this is not just to ascertain if they are keeping the property in good condition, but also to make sure there are no repairs you need to undertake for their safety and comfort.
By law you must keep the property well maintained and undertake any major repairs. In particular you need to be aware of items that affect the tenant’s comfort – these include sanitary ware such as basins, baths and toilets as well as the water and space heating. Be sure to repair leaks or appliance failures quickly – the cost and maintenance is your responsibility.
Fair Wear & Tear
Any house that is occupied for a length of time is bound to acquire some level of minor damage, such as a stain on the carpet or a burn on a worktop. Whether you can charge a tenant for these when they leave depends on whether the damage can be considered fair wear and tear. To calculate this you need to take into account a number of factors, such as the original condition of the item and expected usage, depreciation in value, number of occupants and length of tenancy. In most cases you won’t be able to claim the full price of replacement, only the amount it would cost to repair or clean.