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A Landlord’s Guide to Rental Properties Inspections

by James Vinse

A property inspection is usually carried out at the beginning of a tenancy, at intervals during the occupancy, and when the renter vacates the building. Failure to conduct a regular inspection is inadvisable due to many reasons, including the fact that you may end up missing some significant damages in the building.

A property inspection before your tenant moves in verifies the building’s condition so you can compare it with its new state when the tenancy ends. It’s important to take an accurate inventory of the property at the beginning of the occupancy so both parties can refer to it to settle any ensuing dispute when property damage occurs.

Nonetheless, if there’s any damage to be repaired, then claim the initial security deposit.

This guide contains a detailed explanation of everything you need to know about carrying out rental property inspections as a landlord. You can also learn more about the landlord-tenant walk-through at The Short Term Shop website.

What to Check in a Rental Property Inspection

While the building is yours, the tenants live there and will probably notice any problem, so ensure to ask them whether there are any damages. That way, you save time when they point out critical issues to you.

However, consider using the following landlord inspection checklist for periodic inspections of your property.

1. Leaks

Consider checking for leaks that can easily be missed, such as running toilets or dripping faucets. Carefully look under the sinks for signs of water damage due to leaking drain pipes.

2. Flooring and Walls

Inspect the carpet and hardwood floors. Are there torn patches or worn areas in the carpet that needs repairs? Check the hardwood floor for scuff marks. Tenants might have dragged pieces of furniture like chairs on the hardwood. Noticing these marks can help you end that habit early enough before it can damage the wood.

3. Air Filters

Utilize the opportunity periodic inspections provide to change the HVAC filters. Some experts recommend changing it every three months. However, if your tenants have allergies or pets, you’ll need to change the air filters more frequently.

4. Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

Check that the carbon monoxide detector and smoke detectors are working perfectly and if they aren’t, change their batteries.

While some believe it’s the tenant’s responsibility to ensure the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector are working perfectly, it’s a serious liability when they become non-functional. Thus, many landlords take up this task themselves for fear of legal action.

5. Unauthorized Pets

Check that your tenant doesn’t have more than the number of authorized pets, seeing as more pets will increase the building’s wear and tear.

6. Pests

No landlord wants a pest-infested property, so ensure you check carefully for pests. Inspect the building thoroughly to fish out any hidden wasps nest, ants hole, or other unwelcome critters. Ask your tenants if they’re having pest-related issues and take appropriate action.

7. Smoking

If you included a no smoking policy in your lease, check that your tenants follow the rule. Smoking can cause severe damages, so it’s best to take preventive measures. Check for tobacco smells in the curtains and carpets, yellowed walls or ceilings, or used ashtrays.

8. Property’s General State

Finally, check the general state of the building. Are there overflowing trash bins, molds on the wall, or unauthorized paint colors? Be sure to address any issue that comes up with your tenants and send a follow-up written message to document the problem.

Guideline for Carrying Out Rental Property Inspections

Before carrying out a residential property inspection, you’ll need to be aware of renters legal rights regarding property inspections. However, follow this guideline to successfully carry out a property inspection without getting into any legal trouble.

1. Give Prior Inspection Notice

You don’t want to make it look like you’re sneaking in on your tenant. Ensure that you’re aware of the laws governing how to inform or notify your client before a property inspection.

2. Explain Why the Property Needs an Inspection

It’s essential to explain what you want to do and why. Your tenant will welcome the inspection if they feel it benefits them as well.

3. Encourage Your Tenant to Stay Home During Inspections

Your tenants should be available to sign documents concerning the condition of the rental property. Also, your tenant’s availability gives you a chance to point out damages or talk about any needed repairs.

4. Leave Personal Effects Out of Photographs

It’s normal for you, the landlord, to take photos of items that need fixing during rental properties inspections. When taking pictures to support documentation, respect your tenant’s privacy and avoid taking photographs of your tenant’s personal properties, including pets, furniture, devices, etcetera.

5. Don’t Confront Your Tenant

Some tenants can be carelessly destructive. Suppose your tenant has done substantial damage to your property; resist the urge to take laws into your own hands. There are always legal approaches to resolving such problems. You can also apply this reasoning in handling tenant complaints.

legal approaches

Reasons for Routine Rental Property Inspections

To Check Maintenance Issues

Sometimes, your tenant might not inform you about any maintenance problems in your property unless it causes direct inconvenience to them. Thus, conducting rental property inspections enables you to discover areas that need repairs and maintenance works.
Repairs, when ignored for a long time, will depreciate your property’s value. Periodic home inspections help you to discover repair problems on time and fix them quickly.

Validate Home Insurance Policy

Periodic property inspections are part of the home insurance policy; as such, failing to conduct them may nullify your home insurance’s validity. Hire a professional home inspection company to handle periodic inspections on your property. That way, you can use the certificate they issue at the end of each inspection to maintain your home insurance policy’s validity.

Ensure That Tenants Follow the Rules

Periodic landlord inspections help you monitor whether the tenant is sticking to the agreement in the lease. More so, it enables you to check for any modifications or alterations in your property.

That’s why you might need to consider hiring a professional inspection service to undertake this task on your behalf. It is also advisable to do a tenant screening through Rentberry so you can accurately evaluate any prospective tenants.

That’s why you might need to consider hiring a professional inspection service to undertake this task on your behalf. It is also advisable to do a tenant screening through Rentberry so you can accurately evaluate any prospective tenants.

Final Words

Rental property inspections are your responsibility as the landlord; however, you can hire a property manager to handle this if your schedules are tight. There are many benefits of conducting a property inspection for you and your tenant. A move-in and move-out inspection, for example, makes rental property accounting and bookkeeping easier.

Conducting inspections also helps protect you and your valuable properties. In cases of severe damage by the tenant, inspections pave the way to retaining some or all of your tenant’s security deposit to pay for damage repairs.

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