Residential lettings : Property Management : Periodic visits


In another of these articles, Gwen Williams , Property Manager at Belvoir Bedford advises landlords about the day to day management of rental properties.

Property management is the provision of a letting and management service to house owners who wish to rent out their property. Most landlords will employ a residential letting agent to carry out the day to day management of their property for them, but some do choose to carry out this out for themselves.

What are a Landlord’s obligations?

A landlord’s obligations are clearly defined in section 11 of the Housing Act 1985. He is responsible for maintaining the structure and exterior of his rental property including the basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary installations as well as the heating and hot water systems. He is not generally responsible for damage caused by the tenant but he should remember that a tenancy is a contractual agreement and even if there is no written agreement a landlord must supply whatever he has agreed to supply.

What are a Tenant’s obligations?

A tenant’s obligations will cover such items as council tax, water and sewerage, gas, electricity and telephone charges. The tenant does have a duty to take proper care for the property and use it in a responsible way, pay the rent as agreed and keep to the terms of the tenancy agreement.

General management

One of the keys to a smooth running tenancy is a well maintained property. A house that is kept in good condition by the landlord will ensure that its day to day management is kept to a minimum and that the occupants are happy during their tenancy.

Internal inspections of the rental property are another aspect of the general management and should be carried out regularly i.e. every 3 to 4 months.

A tenant has the right to live in a property with “quiet enjoyment” and as a result a landlord must ask for permission before he enters the premises. He must give at least 24 hours notice in writing but a good agent/landlord will usually give at least one week’s notice in writing and will try to be a little flexible, with appointment times to suit the tenant as well as themselves.

There are two main reasons for carrying out regular inspections:

  1. To check that the tenant is looking after the property and is adhering to the tenancy agreement i.e. he is not smoking in a non-smoking property or he is not keeping dogs when his agreement says he can only keep cats. If he is not looking after the property to the correct standard then any problems can be sorted out with a friendly word during inspection and before it is to late to put it right.
  2. To ensure that the tenant is not experiencing any problems and is happy that the facilities offered in the property are up to standard.

If a tenant does report problems i.e. the boiler is not working properly, then a good landlord or agent will arrange for a repair to be carried out as soon as possible. It is not reasonable to leave a tenant with no hot water for 2 weeks because the landlord has forgotten to arrange to have the system repaired. Most agents will have a portfolio of trustworthy tradesman who will provide an expert and cost effective service to cater for just this problem (although it is also advisable that agents do know a little about DIY to avoid calling out a plumber to fix a washer on a leaking tap!)

A tenant is allowed to live in a property with “fair wear and tear”, in other words he does not have to walk around in bare feet to protect the carpets or wear white gloves to avoid putting a dirty finger mark on the wall.

However, he must keep the property clean and tidy and in the condition in which he found it. Most agents and landlords will ask for a returnable dilapidation deposit or bond from the tenant when the tenancy starts in case the property is not left in a good, clean condition. Before the tenant moves in the agent should have taken a full inventory or statement of condition of it and have made this available to the tenant. By describing décor, carpets and curtains including any small marks, stains or defects before the start of the tenancy he is protecting both himself and his tenant.

This ensures that during inspections of the property the tenant is not given responsibility for defects that are not his fault and when the tenancy comes to an end there should be no arguments about how much of the bond is repaid.

There are four simple rules to follow when managing a rental property to ensure that the tenancy is trouble free:

  1. Make sure the property is in good condition and is well maintained
  2. Carry out an inventory or statement of condition before the start of the tenancy.
  3. Carry out regular internal inspections to ensure that both parties are adhering to the tenancy agreement.
  4. If the tenant does report any problems make sure that they are sorted out quickly and efficiently.

Want to know more , call Gwen 01234 290685 or pop in and see us in Tavistock Street.