As a landlord, you know how much work it takes to keep your rental investment profitable and in tip-top condition. This is why a landlord inspection is important. You want to ensure that your tenants are taking care of the property and also fix any small issues before they mushroom into something bigger.
It’s essential for property owners to have a rental property inspection checklist, just like homeowners have maintenance lists. Remember that you’re bringing someone else into your most important asset, which is sometimes your primary residence.
It’s likely that you’re going to inspect your property once a year. Some landlords would love to inspect the property every six months, and others more frequently.
The rental property inspection checklist comes in handy regardless of whether you do the inspection yourself or you bring a rental property inspector.
Our property inspection checklist is split into three categories, that include:
- Tenant issues
- Compliance and safety
- Property condition
1. Tenant Issues
One of the main reasons for routine inspections is to ensure that your tenants are taking good care of your property and not breaking the tenancy agreement. Here are some pointers to look out for.
Most elements of property damage are easy to spot. If you have a good relationship with your tenants, which we recommend you build, they might even notify you about any issues you need to know beforehand.
Have in mind that there could be some issues they don’t notice or find unsettling. Check the property yourself and pay close attention to rooms that aren’t used regularly.
Fix any property damage issues early to avoid spending a lot of money and resources later on.
Signs of Subleasing
If your tenants are subletting without your knowledge, they’re doing it illegally. If you notice any signs, talk to them to resolve the issue amicably. Eviction may be inevitable if you fail to find a solution.
Some signs that could show illegal subletting include:
- It’s hard to contact your tenant
- Tenant withholds access to some rooms
- A lot of people coming in and going out of the property
- A key safe installed outside
- Extra belongings
Keeping of Pets
Unless you’re in the know, keeping pets within the rental property may not be allowed. Some telltale signs of pets include scratches on their furniture, bad smell, animal fur, and a messy garden.
Even if you allow your tenants to keep pets, lookout for property damage during the inspection.
Smoking indoors causes a lot of damage to the property. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll allow it and you’ve stated as such in the tenancy agreement.
Tobacco odor is easy to notice as it stays for long. Also, watch out for nicotine stains on the furniture or walls. Nicotine stains are usually yellowish in color.
2. Compliance and Safety
Compliance and safety checks are quite important because you need to abide by federal and state property safety regulations. Check before the start of each lease and during mid-term rental property inspections.
What should you be on the lookout for?
Your tenants should ensure they keep checking the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors themselves. However, always check them during the property inspection.
Check whether they’re still functional and be on the lookout for worn-out batteries. Also, remind your tenants to keep checking them regularly.
Appliances are a straightforward aspect of rental property inspection. Check all appliances you’ve installed, such as dry cleaners, to ensure they’re functioning properly. If there’s something amiss, get feedback from the tenant to understand the issue well and how to fix it.
Another reason why appliance inspection is simple is that you can plan ahead and know when some of them may need fixing or replacement. You can budget well before and avoid rushing into things.
Hot Water and Heating
When it comes to heating and hot water, start by asking your tenants some questions. Have they had any issues with the heating? Do they have any problems with the hot water temperature?
Once they’ve answered these questions you can do the checks yourself. Check the water pressure and also inspect the boiler. Call a certified professional to fix any issues you might have noticed.
When it comes to the boiler, have it serviced regularly. Once every year is the recommended frequency.
When we talk of using rental property inspection to avoid hazards, fire escapes come to mind. Are the fire escapes accessible? Do the doors open and close well?
Use this opportunity to remind your tenants to keep the fire escapes clear at all times. Remind them to keep the doors closed when not in use.
3. Property Condition
Paying close attention to the property’s condition during a property inspection is essential to avoid any serious problems in the future. Here are some pointers to ensure your property stays in its best condition:
- Outdoor space- You should clearly state in the tenancy agreement whether maintaining the garden and outdoor space is your responsibility or the tenant’s. Regardless, check the garden’s condition during the inspection. If you’re yet to, this is the perfect chance to discuss garden responsibilities with your tenants. Finding new tenants when the lease ends will be difficult if the outdoor space looks neglected.
- Mold and damp- Besides causing issues for you as the landlord, mold and dampness could cause health hazards. Remind your tenants to open windows and keep the rooms well aerated because poor ventilation causes mold. It’s usually easy to spot and is mostly found in bathrooms. You can fix it yourself if it’s manageable, otherwise, you’ll have to call an expert.
- Leaks- Always check for leaks in your piping system and taps. Check areas in your kitchen and toilet to avoid water issues. Most leaks can easily be fixed. However, always call in a professional plumber to avoid expensive repairs in the future.
- Drainage- Blocked drains are common during the winter season. You can fix them easily because they’re caused by leaves. Blocked gutters and drains also lead to mold, so fix them immediately when you notice them. Remind your tenants to stay on the watch for any blockages and fix them if they can.
So, now that you have the 2021 rental property inspection checklist, one question may arise; can a landlord do a surprise inspection? The answer to this is no. You have to give your tenants a notice prior to the inspection. Avoid pulling surprises that could dent your relationship.
Issue them a 24-hour written notice beforehand. You can notify them through an email, text message, or a letter.
It’s a landlord’s right to carry out rental property inspection. It gives them peace of mind that their property is in great condition. It also helps them know when maintenance and repairs are due.
The property inspection checklist is divided into three categories which include tenant issues, compliance and safety, and property condition. Following this checklist during the inspection not only ensures that you avoid bigger issues in the future, but also assures your tenants that you care for their safety and health.
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