1 In 4 landlords inspect once a year or less
Our research with landlords has shown that around a quarter only go into their properties to conduct inspections once a year or less.
As an insurance company, that’s a concern, because we know how important it is to keep on top of even the smallest issues to stop them becoming big, and potentially expensive problems.
Simple Landlords Insurance expert Carl Ager, MD of letting agent Big Red House and founder of the Home Safe Scheme, explains: “Unfortunately most tenants won’t be as invested in your property as you are - which means they probably won’t notice that leaking overflow pipe outside or, if they do, won’t bother reporting it.”
Leaks are in fact one of the top reasons we see for claims, costing an average of £4,500 and 28 days to repair. Catching them early could make all the difference.
In his latest blog on our Landlord Hub, Carl goes on to explain how important inspections are – particularly at the beginning of a tenancy.
“You have to make sure those living in your property are who they say they are. Even if they initially came across as decent tenants – you need to go in to be really sure they’re not doing any damage, and not doing anything illegal - such as sub-letting, cultivating a cannabis farm, or even harbouring illegal immigrants.”
The rise of cannabis farms is something we’re seeing more and more of, and it can be costly. In a recent example, a long-term, ‘reliable’ tenant – who happened to have converted the loft into a cannabis farm. The heating lamps caught fire, and caused more than £100,000 worth of damage.
“In this example, the good news is that the cost to the landlord ended up being just £300, and we were able to settle the claim fairly quickly,” says Head of Operations Alex Huntley. “But the damage was extensive and took time to fix – which is not good news for any landlord. It just goes to show how important inspections are, and how important it is to go into every single room of the house.”
But inspections aren’t just about trouble-shooting. According to Carl, it’s also an opportunity to build relationships with your tenants, and show how responsive you are to their needs and queries.
He says: “A relationship of mutual respect means your tenants are more likely to look after your property and to stay longer - saving you marketing costs in advertising for another tenant and concerns over any void periods.”
“Inspections are not something to be afraid of,” adds Alex. “Make sure you’ve written in you tenancy agreement how often you expect to inspect, so everyone knows where they stand up front. If necessary blame your big bad insurance company for insisting on them! We don’t mind. It’s our job to help you manage your risk, and inspections are absolutely key in helping you do so.”
Get more inspections advice from Carl Agar’s latest blog here.
Read our Simple guide to inspections here.