When you own or manage a rental property, keeping it in good shape is incredibly important. Not only will this help you attract and retain good tenants, but it will also protect your investment. Rental property inspections are a critical part of maintaining your property.
There are four primary types of rental property inspections: move-in, move-out, routine, and drive-by. Read on to learn more about these different inspection types and what you should focus on with each.
What Are Rental Property Inspections?
Before we dive into the different types of rental property inspections, let’s talk some about what they are. A rental property inspection is your opportunity to look over your property and make sure it’s being kept in good shape. You’ll be able to find out about any maintenance needs that should be addressed, as well as any damage that’s been done to the property.
Although we’ll focus on inspections from the landlord’s side in this article, your tenants also have a right to rental property inspections. In particular, these inspections will take place at the time they move in to make sure there aren’t any problems with the property. You may need to be present during these initial inspections so both of you can confirm any problems that do crop up.
1. Move-In Inspections
As you might guess from the name, a move-in inspection happens just before a new tenant moves in. Oftentimes, this may be an inspection you conduct with the tenant. This inspection gives you both a chance to make sure there isn’t any pre-existing damage or problems at the start of the new tenancy.
During a move-in inspection, make sure any damage you spotted during the previous move-out inspection has been fixed. Check that all major systems, including kitchen appliances, are in good working order. It’s also a good idea to check that all doors and windows are functioning properly before your new tenant moves in.
2. Move-Out Inspections
Move-out inspections take place when a tenant moves out and are meant to assess any damage that happened during that tenant’s stay. This inspection should be done as close to the tenant moving out as possible so you have time to make any repairs before your new tenant moves in. This inspection will also determine how much of their security deposit your previous tenant gets back.
During a move-out inspection, you should be keeping an eye out for any damage the tenant may have caused. Check the floors for scratches or stains, and look for dents or holes in the walls. Make sure all appliances are still working, make sure doors and windows are still in good shape, and check for any broken light fixtures or other fixtures.
3. Routine Inspections
Routine inspections take place during your tenant’s stay and are more focused on maintenance than specific damage. You can keep an eye out for damage and breaches in the lease, but this shouldn’t be the primary focus of the inspection. Instead, these inspections are your opportunity to make sure all major systems in the property are in good condition.
During a routine inspection, check for any water damage on ceilings or walls. You should also talk to the tenant about how the HVAC and water heater are performing. Check the function of the fridge and freezer, make sure the dishwasher works, and look for any leaks under the sinks.
This can also be a good opportunity to make sure your tenants don’t have any complaints about the property.
4. Drive-By Inspections
Drive-by inspections are the quickest and most convenient of the four inspections you’ll perform. These inspections just involve driving by the house to make sure everything on the outside looks good. They are focused on maintenance, rather than property damage or lease breaches.
During a drive-by inspection, you’ll want to pay attention to any maintenance that needs to happen on the outside of the house or apartment. Keep an eye out for any sagging gutters, disconnected downspouts, ripped screens, or cracked sidewalks. It’s also a good idea to make sure the grass is staying mowed and the bushes and trees are well-trimmed.
Dos and Don’ts of Inspections
There are a few best practices it’s a good idea to follow during a rental property inspection. First of all, be sure to give your tenants written notice before you do routine inspections. Send this notice at least twenty-four hours before the inspection is set to happen, and encourage them to be present during the inspection.
If you do notice breaches of the lease during your drive-by or routine inspections, don’t confront your residents about them on the spot. Instead, remain calm and professional and handle the issue through official channels later on. Also avoid taking pictures of personal items during these inspections, including décor and pets.
Learn More About Rental Property Inspections
Rental property inspections are an important tool for keeping your property in good condition. Move-in and move-out inspections ensure there isn’t any damage to the property, while routine and drive-by inspections alert you to any maintenance needs. Make sure you give your tenants plenty of notice before a routine inspection occurs.
If you’d like to learn more about rental property inspections, check out the rest of our site at RentSafe. We are the tenant screening platform that gets vacancies filled faster. Check out our property manager solutions today and start screening tenants the easy way.