How often do you perform inspections of your rental properties? One thing’s for certain, it’s important to balance the number of rental inspections you do—too many, and you create problems with your tenants, and too few could lead to potentially serious and expensive issues. The one thing to remember is that rental inspections are vital for property management. So, here are a few tips on how to successfully perform rental property inspections while ensuring it’s a positive experience for both your team and your residents.
When to perform a rental inspection:
- When a new resident moves in
- This should be done with every new resident so you can track any issues with the property with every new move-in. This gives you confidence that you know exactly what state the property is in, and assures your tenants they won’t be held responsible for any previous damage. We recommend performing this inspection when the lease has been signed, but before belongings have been moved into the space.
- When an existing resident is moving out
- This should almost go without saying—of course you want to inspect your property when a tenant moves out! In this way, you can determine the condition of the property when the resident leaves, which helps decide whether or not they will receive their deposit back. Plus, if your residents know there will be a move-out inspection, it’ll likely inspire them to take better care of your property as a whole.
- On a routine basis with current residents
- A routine inspection gives you the opportunity to evaluate the current condition of your property, to ensure there aren’t any issues being ignored that could lead to larger problems down the line. This is more than a quick chat, but a time for property managers to check the overall cleanliness of the property, whether all safety measures are still in place, that all appliances are working—including heating and cooling systems. Routine inspections allow you to prevent your property from losing value in the long run. You could choose to do this quarterly, and even have it be one of your lease terms.
Why are inspections important?
Though they may seem like a nuisance, rental inspections serve as a kind of active insurance policy on your property, one that you have control over. With inspections, you can:
- Proactively address issues like roof leaks, broken pipes, termites, etc.
- Monitor potential safety hazards like electrical issues or malfunctioning CO2 detectors.
- Ensure tenants are keeping the unit in a good condition, while following lease terms.
In many cases, performing rental inspections allows you to maintain and sometimes even improve your property value.
Rental Inspections: Best Practices
Like most things, it’s best to have a set of guidelines to follow to ensure you’re getting the most out of your rental inspection.
- Proper Notice: Give your tenants at least 24 hour’s notice before a rental inspection (unless you suspect your tenant is violating lease terms). Unless you’ve stipulated surprise inspections in your lease terms, you’re legally required to give advance notice before a rental inspection.
- Resident Presence: When possible, try and schedule rental inspections while tenants are present. This gives you the opportunity to ask them any questions you may have, and can also prevent any possible accusation of theft (or any issue) down the line. This will encourage open communication with your residents which is always a plus.
- Explain the Inspection: Be sure to tell your residents why you’re performing a rental inspection, be it for a routine check, to ensure the cooling system is working, or to check on structural integrity. Make sure they understand inspections benefit both of you.
- Respect Privacy: Refrain from taking pictures in the rental property. You risk accidentally capturing something that is identifiable or private to them, which is a bad idea.
- Documentation: Having an open dialogue with your residents is critical, but so is written documentation. Verbal confrontation could get messy, so be sure to keep all notifications in writing, and create a paper trail, especially if the rental inspection surfaced any issues.
- Safety Measures: As we continue to wrestle with COVID-19, our rental inspection procedures must follow suit. Follow social distancing guidelines, wear proper safety gear (masks and gloves), and communicate your safety protocols clearly with your tenants so everybody is on the same page. Be sure to wear a mask, and ask that your residents do too if they plan to be present for the inspection.
We don’t have to tell you, running a rental property demands a lot of you: time, efficiency, and constant vigilance, and that includes rental inspections. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or need assistance, don’t deny yourself! Reach out to us for a consultation, and see what we can achieve together. As always, we’re here to help.