As a property manager, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your rental property. If it’s not done often enough, you may miss some potentially serious problems that could have otherwise been noticed. Carry rental inspections out too often, and you risk souring the relationship with your tenants and having to find new ones. But how often should you inspect your property?
It’s a good idea to include verbiage about your inspection policy and cadence in the lease agreement. Technically, you can stop by your rental properties anytime you feel like it, but only to inspect the exterior of the property. This is because tenants have a right to quiet enjoyment of their homes and privacy. This means you can’t just enter the rental premises any time you feel like it to check on a tenant. If you do this, you open yourself up to risk.
You may be required to serve your tenant with at least a 24 hours’ notice before entering the rental unit. The notice should state why and when you intend to enter the unit. Check your local and state laws to ensure that you’re not violating your renters’ rights.
When should you perform a rental inspection?
Even with a legitimate reason and proper notice, it’s best not to seem like a bother to your tenants. Here are some recommended times to inspect your rental property.
When a tenant moves in
This is also called a move-in inspection. This should be done with every new tenant to help document any issues with the property. Mobile inspections are becoming a very popular way to record the state of the property, and it can all be done with a smartphone. These modern tools often use voice dictation (no more handwritten notes), image upload, and are built into the main property management software. This way you can record the condition of the property as a whole and each room in detail. The purpose of this is to make sure you don’t forget any important steps before and during tenant move in.
When a tenant is moving out
This is also called a move-out inspection. Just as the name implies, it’s done when a tenant is moving out of a rental unit. It helps you determine the condition of the property when the tenant leaves. Your tenants are likely to take better care of the rental units when they know you’ll be doing these inspections.
When checking on maintenance needs
One of the most common jobs of a property manager is conducting routine maintenance checks. A routine inspection is more than just a quick chat with the tenant at the door to see how everything is going. By doing these routine checks, you help prevent your property from devaluing through issues that can manifest themselves when left untreated. Besides, it’s also a great way to keep your tenants satisfied. And when tenants are satisfied and happy, they tend to stick around for a while. This helps keep tenant turnover low.
During a routine inspection, landlords often check for things such as the safety and security of the tenants, the overall cleanliness of the property, mold around kitchens and bathrooms, if all appliances are working, and if the heating system is fully operational, among other things.
When checking for unauthorized tenants
An unauthorized occupant is a person living in a rental unit without a legal tenancy. This is common when a family member overstays or when a tenant begins to house a significant other.
Overall, inspections are an important aspect of property management. A five-minute inspection could help avert significant expenses down the road, and with modern tools, it’s easier and quicker than ever to keep track of the condition of your properties.
This post was provided by Derek Dawson, owner at Dawson Property Management Inc. Dawson Property Management has been using Appfolio software to improve his company’s operations and facilitate tenant payments.You can contact Derek at firstname.lastname@example.org.