New research on property use by tenants has underlined the need for homeowners to make occasional visits to their property to minimize the chance of property damage and disputes.

The study TDS stats carried out by digital inventory app developer and supplier, Imfuna, shows that property damage is a growing concern for landlords and agents, constituting as high as 52% of deposit disputes, with up to a 29% occurrence rate in the last four years.

Imfuna, creators of the Imfuna Let digital app, says property damage can significantly cost the landlord.

A June 2016 news item in the Daily Mirror reported about a landlord who was faced with an outrageous £10,000 bill in total cost of damage by his unchecked tenant, covering loss of rent, refurbishment and legal costs.

The landlord’s property, a three-bed maisonette sited in Plymouth, Devon was completely trashed with heaps of waste and faeces. The horrid condition of the rented apartment was further highlighted with mold and algae forming in the kitchen cabinets and the carpets were hopelessly ruined from piles of damages caused by pets.

Drawing a notable lesson from the Plymouth property case against the background of the survey, the founder and CEO of Imfuna, Jax Kneppers emphasized the importance of landlords and agents undertaking periodic rental property checks so they can see and isolate issues early before they snowball.

Kneppers added that the homeowner or agent should carry out frequent inspection visits even when tenants are properly vetted before being given the property.  He said it is vital to note the state of the property prior to the period the tenant moves in.

Will It Be Helpful?

It is helpful on regular inspection visits for the landlord or agent and the tenant to openly and honestly discuss any issues or problems with the property. Afterwards, the tenant can be showed photos of the condition of the property before occupation. The images should be compared to the current condition of the tenancy.

Floors and doors usually get the most intensive wear and tear from sloppy and careless tenants. Other commonly damaged sections of properties are skirting and window frames, followed by kitchen furniture and cupboard doors.

A property agency director, Howard Lester of Balgores Property Group says his firm created a periodic visit timetable and distributed it to all users. He said this convenient inspection structure allows the landlords, letting agents and tenants have a continuous, open communication line throughout the tenancy period where any damage to the property can be evaluated and fixed, or a bargain made between the parties on replacements.

Lester said this effective periodic monitoring and assessment technique for the properties they manage has helped to reduce incidences of tenant disputes by up to 42%. He said any property damages are spotted early, and a discussion is immediately initiated with the tenant to resolve the issues.

Another sticking point is pet damage, Lester added and explained that his agency has been able to quickly identify guilty tenants from periodic visits to the property.