"We have had floods that weren’t reported to landlords, numerous cases of sub-letting, and most commonly at this time of year, where tenants are neglecting to air properties, build up of condensation and mildew contributing to long term damage," he said.
As a result, the Landlord Syndicate, a network of companies that provides a complete support centre for landlords, is reminding landlords that in the eyes of the law they are the professionals and a problem is only a problem if it is reported. Lyons said: "The average length of a tenancy has grown from approximately 13 months to nearly 17 months. On the one hand this is great news for both landlords and tenants, offering each a greater level of security, but on the other, landlords run the risk of becoming complacent, assuming all is in working order at their property, and this can be a costly mistake."
Landlords should access their properties at every three months but no less than six months, especially during the winter when problems are more likely to arise. Checking on a rental property gives landlords the opportunity to assess its condition, address any potential health and safety issues, deal with maintenance jobs before they become a major problem as well as check for signs of misuse.
"If there is a problem, such as condensation build up, the landlord can advise the tenant on how to resolve and prevent the issue happening and carry out any necessary repairs. Landlords can’t be held liable for issues caused as a result of tenant misuse," Lyons said.
Most importantly, documenting mid-tenancy checks provides evidence that the landlord was aware there was a problem and took appropriate action. This audit trail can be a powerful tool in protecting a landlord from being fined should a dispute arise.
"Landlords are the responsible party in renting a property and should not assume that tenants are going to automatically rectify any issue, especially if they consider it the responsibility of the landlord," Lyons said.
"Landlords need to be proactive by carrying out documented property visits and bring it to their attention. Carrying out this process either yourself or through a recognised inventory management company will save you hundreds of pounds in prevention of problems and save you even more in the event of a dispute at the end of the tenancy."
Have your say on this story using the comment section below