Without a doubt, regular property inspections are one of the most important things you can do to protect your property investment. However, for many property owners, it’s still one of those admin chores that’s difficult to find time for. So why are property inspections such a vital element of property management?
The benefits of regular property inspections
Recent feedback from one of our customers Faye Walker, Property Manager at Fry & Kent in Hampshire, who regularly uses our property inspection service, is a reminder of why property inspections should be a regular, planned activity:
“Property inspections by No Letting Go give me real peace of mind. Their experience and use of inventory software designed specifically for the job means nothing gets past them. That way, I am reassured that my tenants are safe and happy and my property, which I’ve invested a lot of money into, is being kept in good order.”
Some landlords are worried about checking up on their tenants, but far from being intrusive, regular inspections show your tenant that you care about their welfare and can head off problems before they become expensive disputes.
This peace of mind comes from knowing that a comprehensive property inspection covers many aspects of being a landlord, including:
• Reviewing the condition of the property and its contents, to spot any repair and maintenance issues before they become costly problems
• Ensuring compliance with the tenancy agreement
• Making sure no illegal activities are taking place at the property
• Building a good relationship with tenants
• Demonstrating that as a landlord you are fulfilling your responsibilities
• Creating documentation that can provide evidence if a dispute arises
Making property inspections easy
Property inspections are time-consuming. Defining what needs to be checked, recording the findings of an inspection and organising inspection visits all take time. A great way to relieve the burden of regular property inspections is to use a property inspection service.
At No Letting Go, we utilise our bespoke inventory software to ensure all property inspections are thoroughly conducted logically, with written and photographic evidence included in the report. Together with an inspection at the end of a tenancy and the beginning of a new tenancy, regular property inspections provide a full audit trail of the properties condition.
The benefits of using a property inventory reporting system mean that inspections can be completed promptly and they also provide consistency over what is being monitored, so nothing is missed, either during the inspection or because of lost records. Online reports are easily recalled and compared when necessary to review changes.
Our thorough and rigorous inspection services are all about protecting the landlord’s investments and ensuring tenants have a good tenancy experience, working hard to ensure all our customers feel as reassured as Faye says:
“Having been in the Lettings Business for many years, No Letting Go is by far one of the best Inventory companies I have used. They are always professional, reliable and the quality of work is second to none with reports always received on time.”
No Letting Go
If you would like to find out more about how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.
The latest government rules combined with the Prime minister’s recent address to the nation is clear – tougher measures are required to control the spread of the virus.
Everyone has a slightly different attitude to risk, and with each new set of guidance comes a shift in public attitudes. The public wants protection from the government to reduce the risks of contracting an avoidable illness, but they also want protection against avoidable economic hardship (according to the Health Foundation and Ipsos recent public survey).
So, we all have a role to play – government, public and businesses large and small (and the press, but that’s a whole other topic!). Let’s hope that common sense prevails and the wearing of PPE, washing hands, sanitising and minimising contact with others will prevent us facing further draconian measures.
So how is this affecting the lettings industry? Well actually, very little has changed to the protocols already in place with agents and suppliers such as inventory providers, aimed at minimising the spread of the virus. A more significant change to letting agents is the requirement to wear masks while working in high street offices. Office workers are being told to work from home where possible, so effective systems and the ability to outsource tasks to reliable, responsible experts will be paramount in the weeks and months ahead.
In terms of how we continue to adapt as an industry, the focus has to be on creating as much confidence as possible for landlords and tenants, by ensuring safety measures are in place and being adhered to, and technology solutions are being utilised where possible, to minimise contact for staff and clients. Now is the time to remind, re-enforce and monitor those protocols with staff and clients to ensure safety is paramount and safeguard the continuity of our industry.
Minimising face to face contact is a priority and it is possible to conduct inventories, check-ins and check outs without the need for the tenant to be present. It is also vital that the tenant is reassured that in addition to his safety, this will not be detrimental to his tenancy and/or deposit – utilising an independent provider will offer additional comfort in this regard.
We achieve no contact reporting by using our DigiSign service. The system electronically delivers the inventory to the tenant enabling him to add comments back into the report if he wishes, with the facility to include photos and record an electronic signature – all within a specified time frame. Our inventory expert will then assess these comments before sending a final copy onto the agent and tenant. If the tenant forgets to sign, an automated message will be issued informing him the report has been deemed acceptable, removing the requirement for further chasing.
If you are conducting these in-house utilising software such as Kaptur, you can still achieve the same with emailing inventories, requesting tenant input and then using DocuSign software to capture the signature. Our system just removes the chasing element on behalf of the agent.
There are situations where the tenant and possibly another supplier is at the property whether planned or not, and this is where our COVID processes are utilised. Most agents are vigilant in asking health questions, to ensure tenants do not have symptoms, which is then reaffirmed by our inventory experts at the property. Keys and surfaces touched are sanitised, PPE is used and social distancing is requested by our expert. The same protocols are in place if we are collecting or returning keys to the agent office.
Whether you are outsourcing your inventories, check-ins and check-outs, or conducting them in house below is a quick checklist to remain COVID compliant to protect staff, tenants and our industry:-
- Minimise tenant contact where feasible with the use of technology
- Document your COVID procedures for visiting properties with and without tenants present and re-issue to all staff and suppliers and of course to landlords and tenants
- Check your risk assessment is up to date and re-issue to staff
- Do you have enough PPE and is everyone aware of when to use masks, sanitize keys, surfaces and hands and how to dispose safely
- Revisit processes regularly as the current situation is fluid and fines apply for breaking COVID rules
The other aspect to consider is assisting the Test and Trace service by keeping records of staff members for 21 days. Whilst this is not mandatory for our industry, more specifically relating to designated venues in certain sectors, its wise to consider this. If a member of your staff contracts the virus, most business owners will be eager to ensure anyone they have come into contact within the last 21 days are notified.
Inventory reporting keeps tenancies, the deposits and all parties safe from unfair claims and it keeps the housing market moving with check in’s and checkouts. Tenants and landlords may have differing attitudes towards risk, but the focus must remain on minimising interaction with others by communicating clear guidelines.
Perhaps one of the most sensitive and potentially litigious times for landlords and tenants comes at the end of a tenancy, when the state of a property or its fittings can put a deposit at risk, leading to disputes.
A checkout report completed by an impartial party can help avoid this potential issue by providing an objective view of the condition of the property and define who is responsible for any costs.
What exactly is a checkout report?
This report is done at the end of a tenancy and provides a thorough record about the state of the property on the departure of the outgoing tenants. Each room is inspected and graded with the assessment of specific items, clearly stating whether any action required. The resulting report provides clear evidence to justify a deduction from the tenant’s deposit. It also provides information to the landlord of what action needs to be taken before the next tenants arrive.
The checkout report, together with an inventory at the beginning of a tenancy, provides evidence of when any damage may have occurred and so who is liable. If there is a dispute, these documents can be used as part of any adjudication process.
What does a checkout report include?
A checkout report provides a detailed description of damage, maintenance and cleanliness. As the reports are written in detail and contain photographic evidence, they offer a definitive set of findings from the checkout inspection.
It can be difficult for a landlord to make an objective assessment of acceptable wear and tear, but an independent assessor completing a checkout report will use their experience to make a fair judgement. Tenants can also be assured that there is nothing for the assessor to gain from the decisions they make regarding responsibility.
What are the benefits of a checkout report?
The great thing about Checkout Reports is that there are benefits for both parties:
- Reports can be completed by independent specialists to reassure tenants of the fairness of the checkout process.
- Tenants are more likely to agree with the Checkout Report findings if they see a fair assessment has been completed.
- A good checkout report process helps maintain a positive relationship between tenant and landlord.
- They prevent unnecessary costs and saves time for the landlord.
- They make the transition between consecutive tenants smoother, with the reports identifying early on any action to be taken before the next tenants arrive.
At No Letting Go, our trained inventory specialists provide a comprehensive Checkout Report and a service that both tenants and landlords can have confidence in. Their accurate and timely information to landlords and tenants facilitate a smooth and amicable departure the rental property.
No Letting Go
If you would like to find out more about how No Letting Go could become your property management partner, with our local and national network of specialists streamlining your costs, reducing your workload and keeping accurate inventories for your properties, then contact us today.
In England and Wales, Public Health England confirmed 359 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease, with 25 leading to death. The financial consequences to those held responsible for the infections were serious, but as a landlord, are you also in danger of breaking the law?
What is Legionella?
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacterium. It can spread in small airborne droplets of contaminated water which people inhale. These droplets can be produced by water outlets in the home, such as taps and showerheads. It can also be caught by drinking contaminated water. Legionella can cause coughs, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and, in the worst cases, to death.
Any man-made water system can provide an environment in which Legionella bacteria can grow, with the right temperature and nutrient sources, such as rust, sludge, scale or biofilm). The more it can multiply, the greater the risk of exposure. For this reason, the water systems and outlets of a rented property need to be properly maintained and checked.
What does the law say?
If you are a landlord and rent a property or even a room within your home, you have a general legal responsibility under Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) to ensure the health of your tenant by preventing their exposure to health and safety hazards in your property. There is also specific guidance for Legionnaires’ disease:
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH): This refers to hazardous substances, including biological agents such as the Legionella bacterium. It requires the landlord to identify and assess the risk to others on their property and to implement any necessary measures to control risk.
- L8 Approved Code of Practice (3rd edition) (ACOP): Published in 2001 and updated in 2013, this guidance stipulates a duty for landlords to carry out a risk assessment on tenants’ exposure to Legionella.
The penalties of failing to carry out a legionella risk assessment
If the Health and Safety Executive can prove that you, as a landlord, did not take adequate steps to control the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease, you can be liable to up to two years in prison, and an unlimited fine or both.
In 2016, one well-known company was fined nearly 2 million pounds for failing to take adequate measures to prevent a Legionella outbreak. That’s not even mentioning the damage done to reputation, business profits and the potential for legal action by the injured person.
A legionella risk assessment from No Letting Go
As well as our comprehensive range of services to private landlords and letting agencies nationally, including inventory management, No Letting Go also offer legionella risk assessment visits.
All of our inspectors are City and Guilds qualified, and they will give you clear, concise and comprehensive reports that highlight any risks and explain any actions you need to take to meet your recommended safety requirements.
If you want the peace of mind knowing your property is safe from the risk of Legionnaires’ disease, then contact us today.
A property inventory is a very important tool for anyone renting or managing a let property, and having this facility as a specifically designed system can greatly enhance its efficiency.
What challenges should a property inventory address?
When completing a property inventory, you need to have the confidence that it’s not only recording information accurately but that it’s also recording all the information necessary. If a dispute arises over the condition of a property, the information you’ve recorded could be integral to resolving the issue. A property inventory, therefore, needs to do the following:
- Ensure all key information is included in each report
- Provide proof of property issues
- Minimise financial risk by creating records that can be relied upon
- Reduce the risk of tenants, landlords, agents etc. not agreeing on the property’s condition
- Remove doubt by recording changes that have occurred over time
- Ensure the rented property is meeting legal requirements
How an inventory system addresses your challenges
Using the technology of an inventory system, such as No Letting Go’s Kaptur app, can provide a solution for many of the challenges of keeping good inventory management:
- Provides a web-based centralised booking system that’s easy to access and update, even remotely
- Allows current and historical inventories to be seen side by side to simplify viewing any changes
- Provides a fully documented audit trial
- Produces clear and precise records, agreed by both tenant and landlord, to reduce disputes when claims from deposits are required
- Identifies work to be done before the next tenant moves in
- Is mobile, allowing all administration to be completed on-site, capturing all information immediately
- Helps agents manage time efficiently by managing admin tasks such as orders, appointments, change notifications and alerts
- Provides documents in a format accepted by all Government deposit protection schemes
When an inventory system is made specifically for the task in hand, its real power is that it offers confidence for all parties and captures data very easily.
Who benefits from using this technology?
Whether tenant, landlord or agent, the success and benefit of Kaptur as an inventory management system is that it benefits all parties involved.
For agents, the efficiency of the app allows them to save time and provide uniformed reports. For landlords and tenants, the accuracy of the information and its real-time capture provides confidence in what’s been recorded. This reduces the risk of dispute over information and minimising the financial risk for both parties.
For those looking to increase efficiency in their lettings business and deliver professional reports to clients, an inventory management system provides a “one-stop-shop” solution.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could help you as your property management partner, streamline your costs, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.
Owning a franchise is a very popular starting option for anyone with an urge to run their own business. At No Letting Go, our franchise business is thriving as entrepreneurial spirits join us and take advantage of the many opportunities an inventory management franchise offers.
Why is inventory management a good business opportunity?
The rental market is booming right now, and lockdown has done little to slow it down. Recent figures show a 22% increase in demand for lettings in comparison with the same period in 2019. In fact, it’s predicted that households within the private rented sector is set to rise by 5.79 million by 2021. This level of expansion offers exciting opportunities for anyone involved in the sector.
To manage the growth in the lettings market successfully, there will need to be a robust infrastructure of support services around it, and inventory management will play an essential role. Inventory management ensures the protection of both landlord and tenant and reduces the potential for disputes. Landlords value the ability to outsource inventory management as it saves them time, and our independence gives tenants greater confidence in the process.
Moving into a market with such growth opportunity is an exciting proposition for any new business owner, but when this can be done through a franchise, which offers the prospect of a readymade set-up and a recognised brand, it’s an opportunity to get your business career off to a flying start.
What’s special about a No Letting Go franchise?
In addition to an active market, business owners need to ensure that the franchise they’re considering can realise business opportunities and meet their aims.
Inventory management provides a clear advantage to those owning or managing a let property, but the advantage of owning a franchise comes when that franchise is established as a provider of a specialist service. A No Letting Go franchise offers just that:
- A recognised brand and the UK’s largest franchised provider of property reports to the UK residential rental market
- Provides a range of services in addition to the inventory management report, increasing income
- Has services established with a wide variety of letting businesses, including major chains of letting agents, independent local letting agencies, estate agencies, landlords, property management companies and local authorities
- Invests in extensive training in all aspects of delivering the services and running a business, from when you start up and continuing throughout your franchise ownership
- Based on a repeat business model, so once established you’ll see an ongoing flow of business
- Offers assurance that reports are comprehensive, compliant and simple to create, so you’ll always be in demand
Become a franchise owner
The desire to provide great customer service, deliver on promises and work hard are the main assets you need for starting out on your franchise ownership journey; no industry experience is required.
If you think you have what it takes, and running a franchise would suit your life and your business aims, please contact us to discuss joining the national network of inventory management specialists at No Letting Go.
A good landlord or property agent understands that the relationship with their tenant needs to be carefully managed in order to build a positive and successful long-term partnership from which both sides benefit. This requires the reliable delivery of a broad range of services to ensure that the tenant is kept safe and happy and to protect the position of the property owner.
If you own a rented property, it is always worth considering whether you will benefit from engaging a specialist property manager with experience required to deliver on that relationship.
The importance of property management
Purchasing a property to rent is a major investment, and property management is about looking after that investment so that it continues to give you the best return possible. Landlords also understand the additional benefits that good property management brings:
- Freeing up your time from keeping up to date with a multitude of compliance requirements
- Providing additional support when a landlord doesn’t have the capacity to look after their properties themselves.
- Ensuring that buildings are well maintained to generate maximum revenue
- Looking after the resident’s needs and wellbeing
- Acting as a point of contact between landlord and resident
- Understanding the legal requirements of renting property
What are property inventory management services?
At No Letting Go we offer a broad range of property reporting services to ensure we can assist either a landlord or agent to manage a successful let. These services include:
- Vacant property inspections: Checking your property is secure, and there are no maintenance issues, internally or externally. There’s often an insurance requirement for vacant properties to be inspected weekly or fortnightly.
- Abandonment notices: Ensuring these notices stay in place by regularly visiting the premises and reporting on the property’s security.
- Mid Term Reports: Every three to six months, we visit a property to ensure it is being maintained as agreed, check for damage and ensure that tenants are happy. We then produce a report that can be used to provide valuable evidence should a dispute arise in the future.
- Block management Inspections: Estate and block inspections are broad ranging, from fire and safety to maintenance and cleanliness, but can be tailored to each client’s needs, highlighting key areas for necessary action.
- Inventory management: Reporting any change, from the commencement to the termination of a tenancy, and providing evidence for recovering costs against deposits or insurances
- Fire and CO compliance: Inspecting and testing all alarms to ensure compliance with relevant regulations.
Why use specialist inventory services?
With a specialist property inventory service like No Letting Go you have access to a national network of inventory specialists. In addition to our experience and specialist knowledge, our letting management and landlord clients benefit from:
- A dedicated account manager
- Capacity to manager large and small portfolios
- A flexible range of property reporting services
- Guaranteed report delivery turnaround, working to a Service Level Agreement
- Use of an online platform which makes tracking easy
- Fully insured and qualified specialists
- Building your reputation as a good landlord or management agent
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our national network can help with your property inventory management to generate accurate reports and protect your reputation as a landlord or letting agent, please contact us online.
A report at the beginning of the 2020 year stated that 30% of landlord-tenant disputes were a result of tenants not receiving communications about why their deposit wasn’t being returned. The second most common cause for dispute was cleanliness (23%), and the third was damage to property (18%).
What is a property inventory?
A property inventory is a comprehensive report which details the state of your property at the beginning of a tenancy. It provides information on the furniture, fixtures, fittings and general wear and tear. Anything that is damaged or missing can be recorded in front of a new tenant.
Why is an inventory important?
The extensive details recorded in a property inventory provides the evidence to show the contents, condition and cleanliness at the start of the tenancy. A comparison report will be prepared at the end of the tenancy to determine if any damage occurred during the tenancy. This makes it easier to recover costs against a deposit or zero-deposit replacement insurance. Without this crucial evidence, landlords can find themselves liable for the cost of the damage. And on the other hand, without this evidence, a tenant can’t prove they weren’t responsible for some damage.
In addition to helping to place responsibility for property damage, the report also highlights any issues to be addressed at the start of the tenancy and provides tenants with a clear expectation of the state in which the property should be returned.
The benefit to all parties in preventing disputes makes inventory management an essential part of the property letting process and sets the relationship between landlord, agent, property manager and tenant off to a good start.
What should an inventory report include?
A comprehensive inventory report should include the following:
- A record of meter readings and keys provided
- The condition and cleanliness of each room, including appliances, fixtures and fittings
- A record of the condition of the garden
- A signature from the tenant confirming they agree with the contents of the report
- A record of the condition of the mattresses (if fully furnished)
- Date and time-stamped photos of the property and its contents
- A record of furniture and furnishing fire safety labels
- Evidence that the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms comply with legislation
- A record of loose or frayed carpets, cracked glass or windows, missing keys and inoperable locks
Check In – Check Out
As important as the initial inventory report is, a check-out report recording the condition and cleanliness of the property as the tenant departs is equally important. This report, in conjunction with interim checks throughout the tenancy, documents any changes that have occurred to the property. This can be used to evidence to a tenant why deductions had to be made from their deposit. A sequence of reports also provides evidence for legal proceedings in the worst case.
No Letting Go
We offer an independent and unbiased professional reporting service, providing a written and photographic report on the condition of the property and its contents in addition to the standard of cleanliness. If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network could help you with your inventory management please contact us online or find your nearest branch.
It’s the three words landlords despise: wear and tear. But what does it actually mean? Is wear and tear an excuse for carelessness or can it be measured? Where does wear and tear end and damage begin?
We understand exactly how confusing the issue can be. We also understand how it can reflect upon a landlord or tenant. That’s why we’re bringing you our guide to fair wear and tear to offer some answers and solutions.
What is Wear and Tear?
This question is certainly a tricky one. The truth is, wear and tear differs from situation to situation and there are many grey areas.
Having said this, common sense must always be placed at the forefront. If you fit fresh white carpet in a bedroom, you can’t expect it to remain fresh and white a year later. If that same carpet is burnt and stained with red wine marks, it can be considered damaged.
There are a few key points that affect the definition of fair wear and tear:
- Length of tenancy – the longer the tenancy, the more wear and tear you’ll see.
- Number of occupants – the more occupants in a property, the more likely there’ll be wear and tear.
- Age of occupants – when there’s children in a property, there’s a higher chance of wear and tear.
- Quality of the property – if you’ve got a newly refurbished property, there should be little wear and tear. Having said this, wear and tear in new properties is far more apparent.
Negligence and Recklessness
If something requires repairing or replacing, intensive cleaning or the care of a specialist, it’s most likely been damaged. Holes in walls, burn marks and broken furniture are all examples of damage. It’s worth asking whether the issue has come about due to negligent or reckless behaviour.
How to Prevent Wear and Tear?
One of the best ways to deal with this problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you want to maintain the original condition of the rental property, there are a few handy tips to keep any issues to an absolute minimum:
Don’t create a showroom house which looks perfect but will never be used. Furnish your rental appropriately for the property you have. This means opting for the durable fixtures and fittings which will stand the test of time. Buying cheap is tempting as a landlord but you’ll forever be replacing items.
Keep the Property Clean and Well Maintained
It sounds so simple but this really does go a long way. You set the acceptable standard for your tenant. If the property is immaculate when they move in, they’ll want to keep it that way, minimising cleaning costs at the end of the tenancy. Regular property maintenance will also help to avoid any nasty surprises at the end of the tenancy.
Be a Good Landlord
Again, this is pretty much as basic as it comes. If you keep the tenant happy and show your professionalism, especially in the event of a dispute, they’re more likely to treat the property with respect. Be prompt in addressing repairs and maintenance issues.
Make yourself easily available. If you show that you care, they will too.
Look for Long Term Tenants
This can be a little tricky but it’s worth it in the long run. Look for tenants that will actually stay at your property for an extended period of time. These long-term tenants are more likely to take pride and ownership of your property.
There are some very clear rules on how you must approach a landlord inspection – you can’t just turn up and take a look around.
Schedule in a quarterly inspection and make note of any wear and tear or damage before it gets too far. Address the issue there and then if needed. Inspections are a great way of quelling problems before they get too far.
Set Your Expectations
There’s no harm in outlining your expectations in the tenancy agreement from the very beginning. Explain to your tenant that the property will require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure it stays in a good condition. Wear and tear in your property is just as important as any other property-related issue (such as unpaid rent) and should be treated as such.
One way to set your expectations is to provide tenants with a pre-check out service that gives them a better picture of the tasks they need to complete before giving back the keys. This can minimise wear and tear, prevent disputes and result in a smoother transition period.
What Constitutes Wear & Tear?
Here are a few issues you may encounter which should be labelled as general wear and tear:
- Small marks/stains on carpets
- Small scuffs/marks on walls
- Naturally worn down carpets
- Loose hinges/handles on doors
- Faded/cracked paint
- Frayed fabric
- Small tears/cracks on furniture
- Faded curtains
- Dirty windows
- Loose/tight tap handles
Examples of Damage
Like the above list, here are a few examples of what can be considered damage:
- Broken locks
- Broken doors
- Tears, large stains or burns on carpet
- Large scratches on wooden floors
- Burnt/split kitchen worktops
- Holes in walls
- Poorly painted surfaces
- Torn curtains
- Broken windows
- Broken toilet seat
An Inventory Check In & Check Out
One of the biggest issues surrounding wear and tear is the tenancy deposit disputes that occur when a landlord and tenant disagrees.
With No Letting Go’s inventory services, you’ll receive the peace of mind which comes with an impartial, fully documented check in and check out procedure. Our service is reliable and consistent producing reports which stand up to scrutiny during any dispute.
A thorough inventory report will provide evidence of the property and its contents at the start of the tenancy and at the end to help landlords and agents cover the cost of any damage made on the premises by the tenant.
Discover our property inventory services today.