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What Every Landlord Should Know About Property Inspections

If you’re skipping inspections for your rental properties, you’re making an expensive mistake. 

It might seem like a hassle to do routine inspections or inspections when a tenant moves in or out. However, inspections are critical to keeping your properties in good shape and preventing costly repairs

Inspections don’t have to be a nuisance if you have a plan. Here’s our quick guide to property inspections.

Move-In Inspections

Before a new tenant moves into one of your rental properties, perform a move-in inspection. This is a critical step to document the condition of the property before your tenants settle in.

This inspection should include:

Interior Items

  • Floors, Walls, and Ceilings–Check for damage and stains.
  • Windows, Screens, and Shades–Make sure all windows are intact (no cracks or broken panes) and check for any damaged screens. All shades should work properly.
  • Light Fixtures and Outlets–Turn on all lights and make sure each fixture works. Note any bulbs that need replacing.
  • Closets, Cabinets, and Drawers–Inspect for damage and make sure all closet and cabinet doors open and close. Pull drawers to make sure they work.
  • Tubs, Sinks, Drains, Toilets, and Caulking–Check bathroom and kitchen sinks to make sure they drain properly. Note any places where caulking is damaged. Flush all toilets to make sure they work properly.
  • Appliances–Run all appliances for a short time. Make sure they turn on and off and do what they need to do without issue.
  • Vents, Heating, and Cooling–Run the air-conditioner and heater. Check vents to make sure air flows to all rooms.

Exterior Items

  • Yard and Landscaping–Don’t forget to note the condition of the yard and all landscaping. Damage to landscaping can be expensive.
  • Garage–Make sure the garage door works. Check any outlets in the garage.
  • Patio/Deck, Sheds, and Other StructuresNote the condition of the deck or patio. If your property has a shed or other outdoor structure, inspect it carefully.

Document the condition of everything in the inspection. If anything requires a repair, note that as well.

Once you’ve completed the inspection prior to move-in, be sure your tenant agrees with everything you’ve documented. If anything is in worse condition at move-out, your tenant should be responsible for repairs.

Move-Out Inspection

After a tenant moves out, perform a Move-Out inspection. This should take place immediately after move-out.

Go through the same checklist you used at move-in. Note any changes from the move-in condition of each item on the list.

Review the list with your tenant. Discuss anything that shows damage or wear-and-tear beyond acceptable levels from living in the home. Use the move-out inspection to either clear the property with no damages or to make repairs before the next tenant moves in.

Costs to repair any damage outside of normal wear-and-tear can be recovered from a tenant’s security deposit.

Routine Maintenance Inspections

Throughout the year, be sure you keep up with routine or seasonal maintenance on your rental properties. If your tenant stays in your property year after year, you could go several years without a move-out inspection.

Schedule a time with your tenants to visit the property for a seasonal inspection. This helps you keep an eye on the condition of your property with long-time tenants. It also helps you stay abreast of critical maintenance needed for your properties through different seasons.

Making sure the tenants are home during the inspection is smart.  Ask them if they’ve had any problems with anything in the home. They might be aware of an issue they haven’t yet reported.

You don’t need to do a full checklist inspection. Target areas of potential concern vary, depending on the time of year. Schedule checks for heating or cooling systems before it’s time to use either system.

While in the home, note the condition of the residence. Are your tenants caring for your property? If not, it’s worth a conversation with them,  making sure they are following the terms of their lease agreement.

A Property Management Company Handles Inspections and Repairs

The idea of so many inspections might overwhelm you. However, routine inspection is an important part of running your investment property business. It’s also time-consuming, especially if you have multiple rental properties.

Your property management company handles all Move-In, Move-Out, and routine property inspections. They’ll also work with your tenants to schedule repairs or pursue compensation for significant damage that isn’t covered by a security deposit.

There’s no need to spend your time on property inspections. Real Property Management Sarasota & Manatee oversees all inspections for our landlords. Our long-term relationships with contractors ensure repair work is done quickly and affordably.

Contact us today to let us help you manage your property inspections. We’ll help your properties stay in perfect condition for the safety and well-being of your tenants.  Download our free guide, “Your Guide to Finding the Best Sarasota Area Property Manager.”

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