Inspecting your rental property is one of the key tasks you should be doing on a regular basis. Believe it or not a lot of investor simply sign the lease, hand over the keys and only return to the property when the tenant moves out. Even with reliable tenants, it’s still a good idea to do a property inspection.
How often should I inspect occupied properties?
This will vary from landlord-to-landlord. If your tenant is on a one-year lease, you shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to inspect the unit. Some landlords do a semi-annual inspection, in the fall and in the spring. Other landlords prefer a quarterly inspection (i.e., every three months). Overall, most landlords agree that committing to a regularly scheduled inspection of occupied properties is important. At Welcome Home we inspect all properties on a quarterly basis and are very up front with our tenants informing them of just that.
What should I inspect in the properties?
If you’re conducting a bi-annual inspection, most landlords change filters, smoke detector batteries, and conduct a general inspection of the overall quality of the property. When inspecting an occupied property, you can check for the following:
- Smoke batteries
- Fire extinguishers
- Water leaks (sink, toilet, faucet, roof)
- Water damage (walls, ceiling, floor)
- Running toilets
- Any appliances
- Furnace filters
- Overall cleanliness/condition of property
Treat property inspections as preventative care. Even if there are clauses in the lease that indicate tenants are responsible for tasks such as changing filters, some landlords find it’s better to simply do the job themselves. This way, they can ensure that it is done and that they are aware of the condition of their property.
By law, you must give your tenants 24 hours written notice and as part of your lease you should set the expectation with your tenants that you and your team will conduct regular inspections.
Further, routine and preventive inspections make it less likely that if or when the tenant does decide to move out, there will be fewer surprises when conducting their move-out inspection.
It’s important that you inspect occupied properties as a proactive approach to property management and maintenance, even if certain tasks fall under the tenant’s responsibility according to the lease. Even good tenants can be lazy and forgetful, so you can take preventative measures to protect your property and investment. Welcome Home offers this program as part of our full managed and FIXit programs for investor clients and self-managing landlords. If you simply don’t have the time to do it, let us put it on our TO DO list for you. You’ll be glad you did!