Maintenance Inspections are an important part of every property manager’s job. Even if you have a great tenant, problems will inevitably arise, and routine inspections can help keep small problems from turning into bigger ones down the road. While planning an inspection, be sure to check your local and state laws as to how much notice you’re required to give before entering your tenant’s property.
What is a Maintenance Inspection?
A maintenance inspection involves the landlord or property manager periodically reviewing the inside and outside of the property to assess the condition. Most of the time, this occurs when the tenant is present so they’re aware of any changes that need to be made and are able to ask any questions that may arise during the inspection. It’s a good opportunity for you to fix any previously unnoticed repairs and lets your tenants know you care about the condition of the property.
When Should These be Performed?
Most sources suggest you perform maintenance inspections in four cases: move-in, move-out, routine, and drive-by. The move-in and move-out inspections occur when there is a changing of a tenant. A move-in inspection should be done with each new tenant to assess the condition of the property so when they move out they aren’t charged for any damage they haven’t done. Many property managers find it helpful to take pictures and notes to ensure accuracy. A move-out inspection then allows you to see what damage has been done while they lived there and see if any deductions need to be made from their deposit.
Routine inspections can be decided by the property manager, but should be explained in the lease and understood by the tenant. Many property managers decide to conduct these every three, six, or twelve months, but no matter what you decide it’s important to remind the tenant you’re coming at least 24 hours in advance.
Finally, drive-by inspections are simply meant for you to inspect the outside of the rental property. Because you’re not actually entering the space, you don’t have to give advance notice. You can do these as many times as you feel is necessary, but it’s especially important to do these before and after any severe weather.
What Should I Look For?
When doing these inspections, the most important thing to check for is any damages or maintenance that needs to be done on the property. This includes checking smoke alarms, air filters, signs of water leaking, and any other regular damage that can be caused when living in a property. However, this is also a good time to make sure the tenant is following agreements they signed with the lease. This means looking for unauthorized pets and tenants, signs of smoking within the property, or anything else that would be against the lease. This is simply to protect yourself and your assets and be sure that your tenant understands your expectations.