How and When to Inspect Your Rental Properties

A few years back, our office implemented an inspection process which was offered quarterly. While beneficial to our office for the purpose of making sure that the tenant is taking care of the home and performing preventative maintainance checks on the property itself, it was also burdensome for the tenant.  For the landlord, it was overload.

With this in mind, we modified our inspection system of rental properties. Today, while not perfect, our inspection strategy helps prevent home mechanical issues while making sure the tenant is not violating the lease terms. Furthermore, it helps our property management services provide more credibility to our overall services.

So, when to inspect and how should a landlord inspect their rental property? Here goes…

When Should a Landlord Inspect a Rental Property?

In order to answer this question, we need to know the following :

  1. Age of Mechanicals in Home?

  2. Quality of Tenants?

  3. Degree of Landscaping and Lawn Care Needed?

At the end of the day, if your mechanicals are older than 10+ years, you should be inspecting your property twice per year. If your tenants have pets, work from home, or have several occupants to the home, a landlord should be inspecting four times a year. If your yard is larger than 1/4 acre, mulching of property, or there are trees and shrubs on the property, you should be inspecting 4 times per year as well.

Ah yes…and if you have a pool on the grounds and you are PERMITTING the tenant to use that pool, you should be inspecting every 4-6 weeks during the summer season while requiring the tenant to use your preferred pool maintainance vendor.

How Should a Landlord Inspect a Rental Property?

This question becomes more complex as each property is different.  However, the details lie in order of those items of greatest expense. Thus, we recommend using a professional inspection software that can be imported as an application on a smartphone or tablet device.  Here’s a few that we like :

When inspecting your property, focus on those items that will be of the greatest expense or tenant violation in greatest threat to the lease. Not in any order of importance, this would be examples of the following :

  • Cracks in foundation
  • Condition of Roof
  • Window leaks or broken seals
  • Condition of Furnace
  • Condition of Air Conditioning Unit(s)
  • Hot Water Heater condition
  • Appliance cleanliness
  • Check smoke detectors and replace batteries
  • Replace furnace filter
  • Check CO Detector and replace batteries

When it comes to potential tenant violations of lease, we inspect the following :

  • Additional pets living on property
  • Smoking while on property
  • Additional occupants living on property
  • Unauthorized addition of fixtures to home
  • Unauthorized painting of walls
  • Damage to flooring
  • Removal of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors

Do you have great ideas when it comes to what to inspect when checking on your rental property?  Please add your ideas or comments below.