What Exactly Is A Rental Property Inspection?A rental property inspection is a recorded review assessing the condition of a property. Typically, rental property inspections take place while the tenant is present, so they are instantly aware of any problems or concerns.
Why Are Inspections So Important?Rental property inspections allow managers, tenants, and property owners to set an expectation of the condition in which the property is expected to be in. You must inspect the entire property, from the garden outside down to the furnace filter, and everything in between. Inspections create a positive relationship between you and your tenant as they allow you to be on top of repairs, and to keep your property in the best condition.
When it comes time for your tenants to move out, inspections help tremendously. With tools such as property inspection software, you can compare move-in reports against move-out reports to instantly see what damages have occurred. Once you have completed your move-out inspection, you can show your tenants areas of concern based on the differences between move-in and move-out. This allows you to effectively show your tenant who is responsible for what, eliminating any uncertainty, disputes, and conflict.
When Should You Perform A Rental Property Inspection?Every manager will use a different library of inspections that suits their business operations. Commonly these five inspections are used:
Move-In Inspection – Complete move-in inspections with the tenant being present during the initial move-in process. The main goal of a move-in inspection is to record notes, photos, and videos of the initial state of which a property is in before tenants moving in. This means that any issues that existed before the move-in will not be the responsibility of your tenants. Additionally, any new damages that happen while your tenant is living in your property to become the responsibility of the tenant at the end of the lease. The most crucial aspect of a move-in inspection is the signature section. This is where all parties (Landlord, manager, and tenant) sign agreeing to the original state of the property at the time of the move-in inspection.
Move-Out Inspection – Similar to a move-in, Move-out inspections enable you to determine the condition of a property when a tenant moves out. The main objective of a move-out inspection is to compare the property’s current condition to the condition of the property when the tenant first moved-in. You should use the same checklist you used for your move-in to ensure you have no gaps in inspecting and every area that was on the initial inspection, gets assessed again. When conducting the inspection, you should be looking for damage which exceeds normal ‘wear and tear.’
Routine Inspection – Routine Inspections should be conducted every 1-6 months depending on the property, tenants, and your company. The purpose of this inspection is to allow yourself to stay on top of maintenance issues that are your responsibility and alerts tenants about damages that they have inflicted, which is their responsibility to fix.
Drive-by Inspection – This ones simple and doesn’t require you to give any notification to your tenant. A drive-by inspection is when you drive past the property looking to see if there are any signs of issues of visible issues outside the property. Seeing damage or issues means its time to schedule a routine inspection.
Do’s and Don’tsDepending on which state/ country you live in, you will have laws that protect tenants rights when it comes to inspections. To successfully inspect, you need to make sure you are performing accordingly to your locations set of laws. SnapInspect suggests consulting with a legal executive or attorney to uncover what laws apply to you and your inspections. Here are some do’s and don’ts to ensure you have a smooth inspection process in place.
Do provide prior notice – In most countries and states giving prior notice to your tenants is a legal requirement. Research your state’s laws around inspections or better yet consult an attorney to gain a deeper understanding of your obligations.
Do ask your tenants to be present during inspection time – SnapInspect recommends that you have your tenants present during any inspection to agree and sign off on the finished report. This enables you to chat with your tenant about any areas of concern, issues, or damages that need resolving and fixing.
Do explain the point of an inspection – Always highlight the reason for your visit and explain to your tenant how inspections protect both parties. This helps them to understand and builds the relationship between both parties.
Don’t photograph specific personal items – While it’s impossible to hide every personal item the tenant owns, SnapInspect recommends that you do your best to keep identifiable personal items to protect your tenant’s privacy.
Don’t engage in confrontation with tenants – Managers and landlords are proud of their property, so it’s easy to take offense if there are new damages or signs of neglect. If a tenant becomes confrontational, remain calm and professional. Remove yourself from the situation as soon as you can. Any issues or disagreements should be addressed in writing and not verbally.