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How to Carry Out Effective Inspections on your Student HMO

If you’ve never carried out an inspection before, it’s a good idea to work these into your business routine. It isn’t just about checking for damage, so you don’t have nasty surprises on move out.  No, you also want to make sure the students aren’t breaking terms of the agreement or worse – the law.


The Purpose of an Inspection

For landlords: In some cases, student tenants have sublet a property and others have grown illegal substances. This is your opportunity to ensure that the people you think are in the property are in the property and they’re doing nothing out of line.

For tenants: This isn’t just about landlords. Tenants can show you first hand any issues they might have. These include maintenance issues, minor repairs, and items missing from an inventory list.


How to Organise an Inspection

Always phone or email ahead. It is not required but it is both good practice and polite. Turning up unannounced is a big no-no. It may be your property but it’s their home. Besides, you could turn up at the wrong moment when they’re busily working on assignments or preparing for exams.

We recommend a mid-term inspect in most years. This should be around February-March though just after Easter break may also be a good time. You can get a heads up about issues to sort out in the summer ahead of new arrivals.


What to Look For

The first thing to do is to ask the student tenants if they have any issues of concern. This is their chance to bring to your attention anything they feel needs immediate attention. Damage happens even among careful students and utilities wear out and need spare parts.

But also look out for common signs of carelessness – things like cigarette burns on the carpet, and damaged curtains. Also look out for things like condensation and black mould. The latter is a serious issue that needs addressing. The former is usually indicative of a less serious problem; it could also be they’re not using effective dehumidifying techniques – which should be in the tenancy agreement.


How to Document Your Inspection

This will provide a record when the students move out. Record:

  •         The overall conditions of the property’s interior structure
  •         Condition of the main contents that came with the property
  •         The state of the bathroom and kitchen fixtures
  •         Any evidence of tenancy agreement breaches – growing illegal substances and subletting, among other things
  •         Basic, regular maintenance issues

Keep this report for the summer. If you are left with no other option but to withhold part of the deposit. For regular issues, you may need to book now to ensure work gets done over the summer.