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SNAGGING – What it is and why can it help a landlord on their next Buy to Let purchase

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Snagging is a term we use for the reporting of defects in the month following a tenant moving in to a new property. A bit like the good old days when you had to ‘run in’ a new car to ensure that all the components behaved as they should.

The correction of a defect in a property once a tenant has moved in can be more costly than having a clear run at the job whilst the property was empty. It can also cause unrest to your tenant and it can, on occasion, lead to the tenant giving notice at the earliest opportunity.

In the list below I have included what typical snagging events we get informed of by our tenants. Snags and costs that may have been avoided at the pre letting stage.

  • GROUTING – “there is water coming through the ceiling!” is a frequent call. In older properties the grouting of tiles around bath and shower units have often dried out and shrunk. It only takes a few days of regular use of the appliance for the damage to be done. By then it is not just a case of re-grouting. It is drying out of a ceiling and later redecoration. In one case the tenant claimed costs from the landlord for damage to their possessions (this is why landlords insurance is a must as well as tenants insurance)!
  • JUNK – once any restoration work has been done then your tools and equipment need to be moved from the property. For example it is not OK just to leave the old lawnmower in the shed. If you do you will be liable for its upkeep and for its electrical certification PRIOR to the let commencing.
  • WHITE GOODS – you may buy a property with some white goods already in place. Think long and hard as, like the lawnmower, you need to get electrical certification prior to the let but as the tenancy goes on you will be called upon to pay for investigations, repairs and replacements as the appliance slowly wears out. As a rule of thumb it is best to leave the white goods out of the equation. Typically in a kitchen the only appliance regarded as a standard is the cooker/oven.
  • WATER – water coming under roof tiles and sheds leaking. Have a good external look at the roofing of the property and investigate in the loft space for evidence of previous water entry.
  • POOR PLUMBING – the first thing a tenant will want to do is to install their dishwasher or washing machine. Quite often the original plumbing connections to appliances are old and not fully functional. We had to attend at a flat where this was the case and the water leakage had entered another property and the landlord had to pay for the drying out of it and the redecoration.
  • POOR FITTINGS – curtain poles, shower rails, towel rails and anything that is fixed to the walls. Give them all a tug to see if they are up to the purpose for which they are designed

The old adage that you look at a rental property with your head rather than your heart is true to an extent- but do also think of what would make you upset if you were to rent this property in question and then determine what you will do about it?