As a landlord, one of the most important tasks you should be performing is regular property inspections.

We hear it time and time again that, “they are a great tenant…”, however, routine inspections can help prevent big problems down the road.

They also indicate to a tenant the type of condition you expect the property to be returned in. After all, if you don’t care about the property, why should they? 

Regular inspections are also a good way to track the condition of your property. It involves the landlord or the property manager periodically reviewing the property inside and out to assess the condition of the property. A rental property inspection is often conducted while the tenant is present so they are informed of any issues or concerns that arise.

A good landlord-tenant relationship involves cooperation and communication, and this especially applies to handling a rental property inspections.

A rental property inspection allows for you and your tenant to review the condition of the property before they move in, and sets the expectation of the condition in which it should be returned. It’s also an opportunity for you to fix any previously unnoticed repairs before the tenant moves in, which sets the stage for a positive professional relationship with your tenant.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PERFORM ONE?

Performing a rental property inspection helps you to maintain the condition of your property.  Inspections can help you account for any deductions taken from the tenant’s security deposit if they damage the property. So having a clear view of the property’s condition before your tenant moves in and when they move out is important to managing your property.

TYPE OF INSPECTIONS

  1. Move-in inspection – This inspection should be conducted by the landlord and the tenant during the move-in process. Most landlords use a move in inspection  checklist document any issues with the property, and then ask the tenant to sign and date the form. Some landlords also find it helpful to take photos of any existing damage to keep along with the paperwork.
  2. Move-out inspection – This inspection helps you determine the condition of the property when the tenant leaves. You will want to schedule the walk-through on the day your tenants vacate the premises. If you do it too early, they may cause damage during the last few days on the property or in the process of moving out. For example, hardwood floors can easily be scratched while moving heavy furniture.
  3. Routine inspection – This inspection should be conducted every three to six months to ensure that the property is still in top condition. It allows you to stay on top of maintenance issues that are your responsibility, and gives tenants a chance to correct any damage they have caused before it gets worse.
  4. Drive-by inspection – This inspection doesn’t require advanced notification, since you’re not entering the property. You’re simply observing if there are any issues on the outside of the property that would indicate a routine inspection is in order.

Now that you’ve bought in to the fact that regular inspections are important, before heading out, here are some key points to remember:

  1. Give proper notice

Ensure you always give your tenants proper notice. In Ontario you need to give the tenant 24 hours written notice for all inspections

2. Encourage your tenants to be home

Encourage your tenants to be home for inspections. In some instances you will have tenants sign documentation about the condition of the property. This gives you a chance to talk to your tenant about any needed repairs, or point out damages they will need to fix before

3. Explain why the inspection is necessary

Providing a reason for your visit helps the tenant understand that it benefits you as well as them.

4. Don’t engage in confrontation with tenants

Landlords take pride in their property, so it can be hard not to take it personally if you notice neglect or damages. If the tenant has complaints,  you should remain calm and professional. Any problems should be addressed in writing instead of verbally.

Walking through the property with your tenant gives you the opportunity to give them advance notice of any deductions, or provide the tenant with time to remedy the damage. Nolo provides a list showing which repair costs can be deducted from a tenant’s security deposit, and which fall into the ordinary wear and tear category.

Regular inspections throughout the rental relationship is to protect yourself and your assets. It can help you retain some or all of a tenant’s security deposit in order to pay for repairs.

Owning a rental property invariably comes with risks such as property damage, evictions, renter turnover and long vacancies. However, one of the best ways to protect your property from expensive damages is to conduct a thorough tenant screening. Understanding how to screen your tenants will help you be better informed when choosing your next renters.