Most Richmond area property management companies will tell you that rental property inspections are not an annual or one-time event. A lot happens during vacancy periods as well as when the property is occupied. So the importance of these inspections can’t be overstated. Not only are these inspections important where the condition of the property is concerned; they are extremely important to the landlord / tenant relationship. It cements the basis of the property management service. Most property management companies will conduct up to 4 inspections over the course of a year, including the following:
Clean and safety inspections – As the name infers, you want to inspect the property every quarter (3 months) to ensure that it is being kept cleaned and maintained as well as safe. This helps you maintain control over your rental property. Keep in mind that you are looking not only for those issues or problems that you’re responsible for, but you are also looking for tenant damage. As with any other inspection of your property, you’ll want to document this one as well. If there are issues the tenant needs to correct, do a follow-up inspection to ensure it’s been done.
Drive-by inspections – You don’t have to notify the tenant about these inspections since you are just driving by the property and looking it over. If you spot any issues on the outside of the home during a drive-by inspection, the tenant should be notified in writing immediately. Be sure you schedule a clean and safe inspection (see above) within a reasonable length of time to ensure they have complied with your demands.
Move-in inspections – When a new tenant moves into your rental home, it is customary for them to conduct a move-in inspection and have the property management company document it. This is the time that the tenant can thoroughly look at everything inside and out in order to document any issues that need to be corrected within a reasonable amount of time. By having the tenant conduct the inspection, they cannot come back on you and say they weren’t aware of the property’s condition when moving in. This will help you know the condition of the property before there is a dispute.
Move-out inspections – This is your chance to determine what condition your property is in (indoors and out) when a tenant is moving out. When you meet with the tenant to get the keys to the home back, this is the best time to inspect your property. Obviously, letting them bring the keys to you enables them to deny anything that you find when inspecting the home after they have moved out.
Remember, the only way that you will be able to protect yourself as well as your investment is by conducting the inspection when the tenant is present. Better safe than sorry, right?