Your rental property needs to be inspected regularly and thouroughly. Not only do inspections help you document the condition of your home; they also help you ensure your tenant is following the terms of your lease agreement. Make sure you're taking a look at your property at least three times during tenancy; at the beginning, at the end, and once while your tenant is in place.
Don't overwhelm your tenant with frequent and disruptive visits, let them enjoy their privacy and enviornment. Once or twice a year is a good rule to follow unless you feel there are reasons you should get inside more frequently.
Before your tenants move into the property, you'll need to do a complete inspection that includes photographs, detailed notes, checklists and, even videos. You want to make sure you can accurately create a record of what the home looks like before your tenants establish residency.
You'll also want to make sure there aren't things you need to repair or replace. Everything should be fully functional. Turn on all the faucets and test all of the outlets. Make sure all of the toilets flush and don't run, the sinks drain quickly, and all of the appliances work. If you find something wrong, schedule the repair immediately.
The move out inspection is equally important. You need to be just as detailed with the move-out inspection as you are with the move-in inspection, and you'll need to note any differences in the property's condition. General wear and tear issues such as, scuff marks from where the sofa was resting or nail holes in the wall are not anything you can or should charge your tenant for. However, if you notice something is broken that was not broken before the tenant moved in or obvious damage to the floors, walls or appliances, you can charge the security deposit for those repairs.
Documentation is again critical. Take pictures and videos so you can clearly demonstrate what has been damaged from abuse, neglect or misuse. This type of evidence will protect you from your tenants trying to dispute any security deposit charges.
While you're signing the lease, let your tenants know that you'll be inspecting the property at least once during the term of their tenancy. This will eliminate any surprises when you ask to schedule the inspection, and let them know that you care about the condition and maintence of your investment property.
Send them a letter or an email to coordinate a date and time that you'll arrive for the inspection. You want to be courteous and give them plenty of time in advance. You should let them tenant decide whether or not they want to be present. It may be easier for you to preform the inspection without them there, but if they are home, you'll have an opportunity to talk and find out if they are happy and if there's anything they need to have a better rental experience. They'll appreciate your attention and you have a better chance for a lease renewal when their term is up.
Check for maintence issues that have been unreported. Look for evidence of water leaks and make sure the roof, insulation, windows and landscaping are all in good condition. Check for any potential lease violations. If you see a cat or a dog bed when the tenants moved in without pets, you'll need to address that. If they are responsible for lawn maintence but the grass is overgrown and weeds are taking over the shrubs, discuss some possible solutions.
These are the three most important inspections any landlord can do. If you have any questions or need any help, please feel free to contact us at Perpetual Property Management!