As a tenant, you may not know something: your landlord doesn’t actually want to kick you out.
When it comes to inspections, many tenants feel as though if they do one thing wrong they’ll be out on the street. And while some landlords may be stricter than others, they also want a steady tenant. It’s in their best interests to keep you around.
An inspection isn’t a test - you don’t “pass” or “fail”. The purpose of an inspection is just to make sure the premises is kept in good order, no major damage has appeared, and that the place is kept in the same condition it was at the start of the lease.
It’s better to take care of problems now, rather than after a landlord notices them. Remember: positive inspections also help you get approved for your next rental and build a good history, so it’s worth putting in the effort.
And by the way – the inspection isn’t just for landlords. This is a great opportunity for you to point out any damage or areas that need fixing.
But keep in mind, there are some areas that landlords are going to worry about more than others. We’ve put together a handy list of areas that should attract your attention:
1. Make sure the place is neat and tidy
You want to give the best impression possible. The more you make it look presentable, the better you’re going to come across. If you can spare the cash, it may be worth hiring a cleaner for an hour or two for a quick spruce.
2. Take care of the oven
This is an area some tenants tend to forget – or ignore because it might be too hard. But you’re going to have to clean the oven when you leave a home anyway, so it makes sense to clean it regularly. (Hint: baking soda and vinegar does wonders.)
Bathrooms are expensive, and landlords want to make sure nothing needs to be replaced until it’s necessary. While every bathroom is going to attract soap scum and other nasties, the longer these go without a clean the more likely they are to cause some real damage. If you want to pass your inspection without a hitch, make sure the bathroom is clean as a whistle.
4. Tidy up the gardens
It doesn’t need to be perfect. But you ought to spend some time tidying things up if the lease states that you’re in charge of certain areas of the garden. Cut the grass, remove the weeds and make it look presentable.
If you have a property that faces others in the street, it’s important to make sure the lawn and front area stays the same as it was when you moved in.
5. The driveway
If you keep cars in the driveway, you may have oil stains or other marks. A high pressure hose can help remove those, or failing that, sawdust and laundry detergent can help before giving it a good scrubbing.
6. Damage and marks from pets
If your landlord allows you to have a pet, then you need to make extra care that no damage or marks are anywhere. Clean up all the hair, (if necessary), and make sure there aren’t any dirty paw prints or smells - and spend some time cleaning up any messes in the backyard the dog left behind.
Dogs can often stop an inspection from running smoothly, so you may want to hide Rex away for a few minutes while the landlord has a look around.
7. Marks on the walls
Look, wear and tear happens. Properties are always going to have some small marks on the walls, and landlords know that’s part of having a rental property. But if there are any particularly noticeable marks or scratches, such as those caused by children, it’s well worth your while to have those sorted out.
Even smaller ones that may not catch your eye will be noticed by a landlord, so you may be better off just getting them taken care of.
You might think some stains never come out, but actually, you’d be surprised what a good steam cleaning can do. Spend some time vacuuming as normal and really give your carpets a good once over. Stains happen, but you should treat them carefully and only with major cleaning products – you don’t want to make it worse.
Ultimately, landlords just want to see that you’re looking after the place. Focusing on these areas will make sure that you’re seen in a good light, and will ensure your relationship with the landlord remains solid.
Finally, if you’ve kept the property in good order then you should request some confirmation in writing. It doesn’t need to be extremely formal, but a letter from the landlord stating you’ve kept the property in good condition is invaluable the next time you apply for a rental.
Confused about where to start to get your property in order? Download our free checklist below of areas you should focus on to impress your landlord during your next inspection.