Last modified on February 27th, 2014
By Bryan Ives
You look up, down, and all around as you work through the annual property checklist one item at a time. However, there may be a few things missing from that walk-through that simply haven’t needed to be considered until now. This is particularly a realistic possibility for aging properties that aren’t quite as polished as they were a decade ago as time begins showing through the cracks, so to speak. Here are some areas to consider adding to the 2014 annual property inspection checklist.
Recreation Areas May Need the Full Monty
The clubhouse carpet may need cleaning, the fitness room may have some equipment that’s seen better days, and when is the last time the pool was drained for a full inspection of the surfaces and drains? Maybe the cracks in that tennis court aren’t really conducive to serious players, and until now maybe no one has really paid much attention.
It’s surprising how quickly these little things can occur as the property shifts and residents enjoy the recreational areas more often. Give these areas the works, aka the full monty, meaning check out even the littlest details this year to ensure the uppermost standards of quality and resident satisfaction – two keys to resident retention.
Drainage and Sidewalk Situations
Unless you receive mass complaints about drainage problems, it’s likely that years can pass by prior to realizing that there is a major underground issue. Another issue with not seeing this problem immediately often lies with who will be responsible for the financial payments of any necessary drainage repairs – your property, the city, or a culmination of both.
That’s right, some drainage problems, particularly with older city-controlled underground pipelines and drains, can be held as the responsibility of the city to maintain and/or repair; however, it may take you years of back and forth letters or lawsuits to get the city to do their part.
If you’re working with a property management company, then you likely don’t live on the property, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t rely on the assistance of those who do when you need eyes on the home front. Have residents or maintenance personnel snap photos of any problem areas right after or during a heavy or extended rain. If you have onsite security cameras, these can be observed to spot these areas, as well.
Roofing Repairs and Replacement
Rental properties hold complete responsibility over the condition of all roofing in the complex, so an annual inspection by a professional should certainly be on the list of checks. One small leak can cause big money damage to tenant interiors, and the complex may be held liable if the leak is due to neglect. Prevention with the help of a pro is best, and this task is often ignored by property managers until claims and complaints begin to roll in.
Tenant owned properties with HOAs could also have circumstances in which the board of directors must step in and force homeowners to make roofing repairs under their insurance policies. How can this be? Well, roofing is considered a part of the entire connected units as a whole, so integrity comes into play, and well-versed HOA agreements allow the board to take action as a community. Because tenant owners must have homeowner’s insurance, these claims are typically covered by policies, and the HOA often covers any deductibles when forcing the entire complex or strings of units to replace their roofs.
These three areas of a managed tenant/owner property are often neglected during the annual walk-through, but as you can see they all are vital and have negative consequences when not attended to. Make 2014 the year of the detail – detail to your multi-unit property, that is.