Conducting an end-of-summer inspection
Unfortunately, the summer seems to be coming to an end before it really even began. For landlords and letting agents, this means conducting another periodic inspection of your rental properties. So what should you be looking out for on an end-of- summer visit?
Just Landlords, a 5 Star rated Landlord Insurance provider, recommends conducting a periodic inspection of your rental property every quarter, before reducing this to bi-annually for reliable tenants who’ve been in the home for a while.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to conduct a visit before the summer arrives and then an end-of- summer periodic inspection to make sure that the property has been looked after during the warmer months.
At this time of year, there are certain parts of a property that you should focus on when completing an end-of- summer check. This is because the winter truly is coming, which can have a detrimental effect on the structure of the home – it’s best to be prepared and ensure that the property suffers as little damage as possible if high winds, ice and heavy rains arrive in the colder months.
Although you should make sure to check all parts of the interior and exterior of your property in your end-of- summer inspection, these are the areas to particularly focus on:
1. The roof
Although the roof is unlikely to have suffered damage during the summer, any weaknesses will be multiplied and could cause significant loss when the winter hits. It’s important to look out for any faults at this stage, so that you can arrange for minor works to be completed – this will save your pocket in the long-term.
Check for any cracking or leaks – a good way to do this is to go into the loft and shine a torch; if you spot any cracks, you can get them repaired early.
Also check for leaves or debris on the roof, as it is wise to clear these before they end up in the gutters, which can cause a larger problem. If you find any loose or fallen tiles, it won’t cost you too much to get them nicely secured again and you can rest assured that the roof will be resilient to any strong winds that arrive.
If your rental property has a chimney (or several), you should check all of the joints for any signs of cracking or leakage.
Flashings around chimneys are prone to separate from the brick, which allows rainwater to leak through – this will cause damage to ceilings and the interior of your property. Make sure all debris is cleared from the flashings and ensure that any gaps are filled – a good contractor will do this properly for you.
If the home has a working fireplace, the end of the summer is a perfect time to arrange for the chimney and fireplace to be cleaned before your tenants start using it again in the winter.
TOP TIP: When employing a contractor to work on the roof or chimney, always make sure that they have good knowledge of up-to- date building regulations.
The summer will likely have caused your property’s garden(s) to transform into a lively, vibrant jungle that your tenants will have spent warmer days and evenings enjoying. But you don’t want it to have run wild and become unkempt.
It is your tenant’s duty to maintain the garden whilst they live in the property (unless your tenancy agreement states otherwise), so you should remind them to tame the tangle of bushes and plants before the winter when you inspect the property again.
While the garden may look bright and full of energy, when these shrubs die down in the winter, they may end up looking a mess – we doubt your tenants will want to be out in the cold cutting back plants, so advise them to tackle it now.
When you come to inspect the property again during winter, the garden should be neat and tidy.
TOP TIP: In your periodic inspection report, always include what you expect your tenants to have completed before your next visit.
If you haven’t undertaken or planned to conduct an end-of- summer periodic inspection yet, there’s still time to get one in – focus on the areas above to ensure your property is fully prepared for the arrival of winter.
Rose Jinks, on behalf of Just Landlords, is an expert in the buy-to-let sector and property industry.