Property management inspections

4 Replies

I've got a question that I haven't been able to find on the forum. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place.
How often do you feel a property management company should inspect your rentals? I've been using a company now for 11 years. They have been good with everything except inspecting my houses. The only time they get inspected is when I request it. Should I have to request an inspection or should it be something they should be doing without me having to ask? Three times in the past 11 years I've had tenets move out and the place was trashed. I feel that as long as these tents have been there, somebody from the PM company would have caught some of the destruction before it got that bad.
Also, how often do you inspect?

What does it say in your management agreement?   Most PM are more than willing to do the inspection if you want it and you are willing to pay for it.   Do not assume they are just going to do it for free.  I think that is where the breakdown happens between most owners and PM's.  This is why you need to read the contract carefully and discuss all fees up front when getting a PM.   Some include inspections and others things that others do not.   Do not assume.   Good communication at the start will make it a much smoother process. 

Tracy hit the nail on the head when he said you shouldn't assume they will be doing inspections for free, if your contract doesn't call for them.  Good inspections take time and if they are not included in your PM contract, your PM should be compensated for his/her time.  They should be providing you with both pictures and a written report for your records.  I would say once per year is sufficient, preferably around three or four months after lease start date.  You can't expect any tenant to be okay with inspections every other month, it's intrusive.

My advice is you should definitely have a meeting with the owner of your PM company ASAP to discuss your concerns and requests.   

I'm sure they wouldn't want to lose your long term business over property inspections and it sounds like this is the only complaint you have.  It should be a very easy fix :-)

Best of luck to you!

@Patrick Smith First off, hello from a fellow FF.  IAFF Local 2748.  

Owning a property management company myself, I make an effort to go by all of my accounts at a minimum of once a month. Initially, when we place a new tenant, the initial frequency is increased until we know that they are compliant.  After they have shown that they are responsible tenants, we scale it back to at least the one time per month drive by and walk around.  Having said that, whenever I am in the general area of an account, I make it a point of taking a quick ride by just to put eyes on the place.  

As far as formal inspections.  I do not schedule them while the tenants are living there.  If there is a maintenance request, then we will go into their unit and inspect.  My professional opinion is that if I do my job correctly up front with selecting the right tenant, the need for micromanagement is reduced.  If your property manager has placed several tenants that trashed your units, the root of the problem lies there.  

Several things make this strategy effective and are essential.  

1.  The property must be a well maintained, clean property.  If you try to rent a slum and nickel and dime maintenance, you'll have headaches.  A property is an investment.  Sometimes, additional capital needs to be infused periodically to maintain that investment. 

2.  Tenant selection.  Forget the inspections.  Dig deeper into the application and tenant selection process.  That is the real value.  

10 years, dozens of buildings personally owned, and dozens of pm accounts, and I have had 0 evictions and nothing seriously trashed.  The reason for that is the two rules of thumb mentioned above along with clear, consistent communication with tenants and third party owners.  

Great response guys. I need to dust off my contract and read it again. After that I'll talk to the PM owner and make sure we are on the same page.
It just gets frustrating to put so much into making a house look nice just to have somebody destroy it. Not to mention the money I'm having to fork out.

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