Keeping your rental properties in good condition is always a good idea, since a properly maintained unit encourages tenants to stay and will attract new ones, if needed. Considering its importance, how do you make sure your properties are maintained properly? The short answer is “by conducting regular property inspections.”
Periodic property inspections play a crucial role in your business, since you won’t want to miss anything during your visits. Admittedly, this is easier said than done, so you should have a landlord inspection checklist to remind you of the things you need to check on.
Why perform property inspections?
It may sound like a huge hassle to inspect all your rental properties one by one, but there are a few key reasons why you should do it.
First, rental property inspections allow you to assess the condition of your property. Does the tenant take good care of the property? Is there anything that needs repair or improvement? Is the property properly prepped for the upcoming season? You’ll get the answers by doing a routine inspection.
Second, property inspections allow you to spot any damages. By inspecting your property on a regular basis, you can identify which damages resulted from normal wear and tear against those that were brought about by the tenants’ actions.
Finally, this practice will strengthen your relationship with your tenants. Inspecting the properties, which they now call their home, will let them see that you don’t just care about their money, but also their living conditions.
Conducting property inspections
Here is a simple step-by-step process to quickly and effectively assess your properties.
- Check state laws. Not every state has the same laws when it comes to property inspections, so review the prevailing laws and guidelines in your area and plan your inspections accordingly to avoid any legal issues.
- Set intervals. Conducting routine inspections once every 6 months is typically fine, but this depends on your availability and your manpower, as well as your property’s condition. For the early part of tenancy, schedule inspections once every 3 months.
- Give a notice prior to inspection. Notify your tenants of your visit beforehand to give them a chance to fix the place up before you drop in for the inspection. Send them a note around 7 days before your inspection (again, please check your state’s laws on notices) along with a maintenance request form, if available.
- Encourage their presence. It’s best to have the tenants with you during the process to make sure you’re both on the same page. This will also make them more comfortable with your inspection as opposed to doing it when they’re not around.
- Don’t forget to knock. Notify your tenants via call, text, or email the day before the inspection to remind them of your visit. When you arrive at the property, knock before entering.
- Use a checklist. Your visit shouldn’t take long. Ideally, you should be in and out of the property within 10 to 15 minutes, so bring a property inspection checklist to make sure you cover all the details. Overall, the landlord 6-month inspection checklist should include items highlighting the actual state of the property (including habitability, cleanliness, and any possible damages) during the time of visit.
- Compile your findings. Summarize the findings into an organized report, with the tenant’s full name, exact property address, and inspection date.
- After the inspection. After the inspection, thank your tenant for their time. If the tenants were not at home during your inspection, lock all the doors and windows when you’re about to leave, and send them a message that you left the property.
- Take action. Address any issuesyou found as soon as possible. If there are any damages caused by the tenants, notify them that it is their responsibility to repair said damage.
Landlord 6-Month Inspection Checklist
Take note of the general condition and describe any damages and/or defects (if any) on the walls, ceiling, and flooring. Inspect the doors and locks, windows, lighting and electrical fixtures, heating and cooling system, storage, and shelving.
Specifically, check the condition of the following:
- Counter tops
- Stove, Hood, and Oven
- Wash basin
- Shower and/or Bathtub
- Toilet and plumbing
- Smoke detectors
- Fire extinguishers
- Deck, Patio, and Balcony
- Garden and Lawn
- Parking area
- Presence of bugs or pests
Note: Adjust your checklist depending on the kind of property you have.
New Tenant Checklist for Landlords
Move-In inspections are not much different from regular inspections, aside from the fact that you’ll be doing them with a new tenant and that you have to pay more attention to details.
Conducting move-in inspections with your new tenant is important for establishing a baseline for the property. Meticulously recording each and every detail will help you determine if any damage has been caused by the tenant during their stay.
When should you do it? Ideally, move-in inspections are conducted before the tenant actually moves in, while there are no furniture that will get in the way.
Here are some of the most important things you need to check during a move-in inspection:
- Door and locks
- Bathroom appliances
- Kitchen appliances
- Drawers and cabinets
- Walls and ceilings
- Counters and surfaces
- Sinks and plumbing
- Electrical wiring and outlets
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- Garden and lawn
If you’re curious about move-out inspections, it’s basically the same as move-in inspections. Landlords should bring the move-in inspection checklist and the routine inspection checklist so that they can easily compare any changes in the property.
Any damages that were not there during the move-in inspection which are not a result of normal wear and tear can potentially be attributed to the tenant’s actions. You can talk to them and have them take accountability for the damages.
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