Inspecting your rental property is a great way to monitor its condition and ensure your tenants are taking care of it the way you expect them to. However, you don’t want to show up every few weeks because that interferes with your tenants’ privacy. We recommend you always inspect your property before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out, and also once during the lease term.
Move-In and Move-Out Inspections
The purpose of a move-in inspection is to document the condition of the property before your tenants take possession. This is important because when a tenant moves out, you’ll want to be able to charge their security deposit for any damage. The only way you can justify those charges is by documenting what the property looked like at the beginning of the tenancy.
The move-out inspection will allow you to compare the condition of the property at move-out to its condition at move-in. Make sure you take a lot of pictures and notes during both inspections. It’s also important to remember that you must offer your tenant a pre-move out inspection before the lease ends. This gives your tenants the opportunity to fix any problems that may result in their security deposit being charged.
Periodic Annual Inspections
Schedule an inspection with your tenants once during the lease period. Give your tenants written notice that you’ll be conducting your annual inspection, and let them decide whether they want to be present. At this inspection, walk through the home and look for maintenance items that may not have been reported. Check for leaks under the sinks, signs of plumbing or electrical issues, and any problems with the appliances. Take a look at the roof and make sure the heat and air conditioning are functioning properly. Examine the condition of the property’s exterior as well.
This is a good opportunity to take care of any deferred maintenance items. You can also talk to your tenants about any problems they may have been having but didn’t report. If you take care of minor problems immediately, they won’t grow into more complex and expensive problems.
Potential Lease Violations
Your annual inspection will also give you the opportunity to look for lease violations. If you notice there are pets that are unauthorized or additional people living in the property, you need to address these concerns with your tenants. Drive by your property once in a while. If you see anything outside the home that worries you, schedule an inspection right away so you can get inside and take a look around.