For property managers, keeping up with the status of your rental properties is essential. Drop the ball and you could potentially miss serious and costly problems that could otherwise have been prevented. On the other hand, if you overdo it with property inspections, it could have a negative impact on the relationship with your residents, which could lead to higher turnover. So, what’s the best approach?
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that tenants have certain rights, including privacy and the quiet enjoyment of their homes. As such, there are laws that prevent landlords or property managers from entering the premises without a specified amount of prior notice. You should carefully check and understand the local and state laws to ensure that your inspection policy isn’t violating any tenant rights.
To avoid becoming a nuisance to your tenants, however, there are certain recommended times and instances for property inspections. Consider the following as a guideline.
When a New Tenant Moves In
This is your opportunity to thoroughly inspect the property and document any existing issues. It’s strongly recommended that you take photos of the condition of the property as it’s being turned over to the tenant. This ensures that should any damages occur over the course of the tenancy, you’ll have evidence to back up any tenant-responsible expenses you incur as a result. The use of technology, such as smartphones and property management software, can help busy property managers keep track of initial inspection information.
When a Tenant Moves Out
A final walk-through of the property prior to returning the security deposit is always recommended. This enables both the tenant and the property manager to discuss any potential issues so there are no surprises. As an added bonus, if you include information about move-out inspections in your lease agreement, your tenants will be more likely to take better care of your properties. Again, document any damages using photographs and software.
When there’s a Maintenance Issue
Routine maintenance checks are nothing new for property managers. These inspections may involve something as simple as a quick chat with a tenant on-site to verify that everything’s in good working order. Or they may be more in-depth and hands-on. Common areas to check include the safety and security of the property, its overall cleanliness and condition, the status of the plumbing, heating system and other appliances and whether there is any mold in or around the home.
By conducting these routine inspections, you can hopefully catch problems and address them before they have the chance worsen and potentially devalue your properties. It’s also a great opportunity to stay in touch with tenants and monitor their satisfaction levels.
Unauthorized tenants can spell disaster for unsuspecting property managers. This might be something as basic as an additional family member overstaying or the addition of a new significant other, or it could be as serious as an entirely new individual replacing the legal tenant. Scheduling routine check-ins can help dissuade residents from allowing unauthorized occupants and enable you to avoid costly situations, such as potential evictions.
Inspections are an essential component of property management. Taking just a few moments out of your day on a regular basis to check on the status of the properties you manage could help you save time, money and aggravation down the road. And thanks to modern tools and technology, doing so has never been easier.