Homebuyer and Building Surveys are an important way for landlords to protect themselves against any underlying structural faults in buildings when purchasing holdings, especially as the reduced housing stock is forcing many to invest in older properties, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

While insurance for landlords provides them with essential cover once they have bought a flat or a house, making sure it is a safe investment to begin with is also important.

David Dalby, RICS director of residential, said that the organisation is aiming to raise awareness of the need for detailed surveys as the growing buy-to-let industry is seeing a rising number of older properties being bought for the purpose of letting.

The longer a building has been in use, the higher the levels of wear and tear it has been exposed to, meaning the greater the chance of unexpected problems arising.

Indeed, repairing structural damage can leave properties empty for months on end, with five figure sums sometimes needed to cover the cost of essential renovation. This can result in landlords losing out rather than profiting from their investment, as no return can be achieved until tenants move in and start with their payments.

In addition to providing assurance to investors that their property represents a structurally sound asset, surveys can also see landlord insurance quotes go down as companies take into account the reduced likelihood of problems such as dry rot, rising damp and blocked drains occurring.

"Landlords who show surveys to insurers are also likely to benefit from lower buildings insurance premiums," Mr Dalby added, meaning that taking the advice offered by RICS could increase an investor's chance of financial savings in the long term.

Considering the extensive funds needed to support large scale investments, Homebuyer and Building Surveys appear to be a good way to avoid paying for a property that requires more than just a lick of paint to be deemed fit for letting.