Inspecting a Property After a Recent Eviction

shutterstock_121748410If a landlord or property manager has to evict a tenant at short notice, the next step is usually to call in a property inspector to have a look at the unit, giving the property manager an idea of how much work needs to be put in before he can rent again.  Evictions are usually quick, and often quite nasty: no matter how valid the reasons, no tenant enjoys hearing that they must be out of their home in three days.  For a property inspector used to handling properties with normal tenant turnover, an eviction can be a surprising and complicated situation.  Knowing some of the circumstances that often surround an eviction can help prepare you for what to expect.

Evicted tenants leave in a hurry

Tenants who give thirty days’ notice before leaving a property leave themselves plenty of time to clear out and clean the property before moving out.  Evicted tenants, on the other hand, are usually given very little notice before they have to leave, and their attention is on trying to figure out their next move, not cleaning the apartment they are about to vacate.  Expect to find everything from furniture to appliances and decorations left behind, and be prepared to have to move things around to access things you need to inspect.

Evictions make tenants leave angry

No one is ever happy to get the news that they are being evicted, and an eviction notice doesn’t exactly put leaving tenants in the mood to do their landlord a favor by cleaning out the property.  In extreme cases, tenants have been known to take out their frustration on the property itself, stealing furniture and appliances and vandalizing the building.  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon after an eviction to find spray paint on the walls, torn-up flooring and smashed windows.  Shocking as this damage is, it needs to be thoroughly inspected so that the property manager knows what the investment will be to make the unit suitable for tenants again.

Tenants are sometimes evicted for extreme reasons

The most common cause of eviction is simply that a tenant is not paying rent, but there are other reasons a tenant might be evicted that directly affect the property itself.  Damage to the property is one of these reasons: a tenant may be kicked out because s/he has caused significant damage that cannot be covered by the security deposit.  A tenant can also be evicted for using the property for illegal or dangerous purposes, which means you may find scorch marks, strange stains, modified appliances and unusual apparatus during your property inspection.  Take pictures of any significant or unusual damage so that the property manager can clearly see what has been done to his property, and make sure that your inspection report clearly describes what you find.  Remnants of anything illegal should, of course, be reported to the police: even if the police have already checked the property, they will appreciate having any new evidence brought to their attention.

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