inspections. once a tenant moves in how often?

19 Replies

any info on inspecting a property once tenant moves in. 

how often do you inspect? what kind of notice.   what do u do when place isnt being kept way u want it? insight appreciated. 

everyone is different ;) I rent higher end homes so I only inspect the homes when I am in the area or during move in move out. Others do it a couple of times a year. 

We now inspect quarterly, when we change the A/C filters. We had a tenant that was with us for almost 3 years, always paid on time, never a problem. My contractor only went there for an occasional repair. Gave us 3 days notice when he and his family moved out, and when my contractor went to get the keys, he was appalled at the condition of the property. The damage was almost $7K, and the tenant moved out of state.

Had we inspected regularly, we would have known what was going on long before he left and became uncollectible.

That was a rare case. Most of our tenants keep the properties in very good condition, but you just never know.

Sometimes inspections get away from us, especially if a unit is in distress sucking up all our time.  They are always a pain to schedule, an they often cost money as we find work that needs to be done.  But I'm a big fan of them.  We try to do 3 months after someone moves in, then every 6 months to a year after that depending on how comfortable we feel.  We have a checklist we go down, room by room, looking mostly for water leaks and working smoke detectors.  We have a housekeeping addendum, since it is low income; if someone was a slob and it was impacting the structure, we would hold them to the addendum and have more frequent inspections.  Current damage is done, but explaining that if they moved out now they would lose their deposit and owe us money can sometimes turn the tide and/or prevent future damage, or we can decide to end the month-to-month.  My state requires 48 hour notice to enter.  We normally send out a letter explaining what we want to do and offering 3 dates and times in the next week to choose from, as a scheduling starting point.

On a new tenant i like to check the place after one month and again at 3 months. I make up an excuse to go in there usually the furnace filter 24 hr notice to enter is all we give. After they have been there awhile i make a point to go in there at least 2twice a year.  

We inspect every other month with a drive by and photos for the owner and an interior inspection every 6 months. They agree to comply and keep the property in good condition. We put all this in the lease and tenant handbook and they sign it so there are no surprises.

Aly NA 

how do both of you notify tenant.   like phone call - hey i am coming to look at the place clean up your mess? or letter?  do tenants ever say no? 

I give them written notice in regular mail and email. If we get them on the phone first and they agree we still send something in writing to confirm. We also can notify them through our tenant portal with our software.

If we find a mess we give them a 7 day notice to cure. That usually gets them motivated.

I use text messages most the time its ok plus you know that they got it and its quick. I will push it back if they have a good reason on why like sick child or family friends visiting. But i will only move it back max a week.

@Kirk R. , I would have served the tenant with a Cure or Quit notice - they painted the condo, which they weren't allowed to do and never asked, installed a kitchen backsplash that had to be pulled off the sheetrock, they stained the kitchen cabinets, they spray painted something on the patio and left a red paint outline, etc. I won't even go into the filthy condition of the place.

I would have required them to pay my contractor to restore the condo to the original condition. Their failure to do so would have resulted in eviction, and if the tenant were still employed, I would have sought a judgment and then gone to collections.

The lesson we learned was that had we inspected sooner and on a regular basis, they would not have been able to do so much by the time it was discovered.

Since all of my rentals are within 3 or 4 miles of me, I drive by them frequently. I do interior "maintenance checks" every 6 months.

I am required to give them 24 hours notice. I usually email them 48 hours in advance with the date and time I will be there. I give them more notice since not everyone checks their email frequently. I don't wait for them to respond to me though, since many won't. They are told they have the right to be there, but it is not required. We will be doing the maintenance check whether they are there or not.

Occasionally I show up and they hadn't checked their email and didn't know I was coming. I just ask nicely if I can go ahead and take care of it while I'm there and they have always let me in. If they didn't, I would give them a 24 hour notice to enter and go back the next day.

A full inspection at the end of the lease term, even if they are renewing, and we take care of any issues and then top the security deposit back up at that time as well.  This has worked well for me, but another landlord in my state I was talking about this issue with says that this may well be illegal here.  I haven't run it by my lawyer yet.

@Kirk R.  

Never had a tenant say no! I give them written notice. I am on a friendly relationship with them all. So I call tell them I am coming into town and that I want to stop by and check on them and the house. Making sure everything is okay. Do they have any questions, etc? 

I've been giving this topic some thought, I've just been inspecting the properties when people move out. But I've been thinking I'll put a 3 month inspection in my future leases from the day they move in and then every 6 months there after. Seems like if it's in the lease they won't feel like your nosing around in there life. I hate to bother people. I know there's always things people are doing that I don't like, I just try and ask myself if it's hurting my house and or neighborhood. That said, checking for leaks etc every 6 months seems like my future plan

If you put a clause in the lease allowing you to inspect with 24 hours notice, and stating that you may exercise the option to inspect on a monthly basis - then you can choose to go if you want, or not. As I am about to draft my first lease, I am thinking about ways to structure it that allows me the greatest control and access possible - with the hope that I will not need to use it as I will have great tenants.

@ Alex M. I understand you want to put in clausis in your lease. But check with a lawyer first. Sometimes there is a law not allow you to do things. For example I wanted to turn the water off if the tenis did not pay. My lawyer said that i would go to jail if i did. even if i put it in the contract. in St Louis there is Landlord tenant handbook that you have to go by. 

If your city has a Landlord tenant handbook make sure you know it backwards and forwards and get a lot and hand them out to tenants. It will help them and you in the long run. 

Our leases indicate we will enter the properties to inspect and perform routine maintenance (HVAC filters, smoke/CO detectors, etc) periodically and will provide notice before each inspection.   

In our student properties, we are through at lease once per quarter.  In our other properties it's usually once or twice per year.

@Peter MacKercher  

instead of shutting off water /heat.   wondered if having control of cable and internet.  shutting them off would make tenant move? 

Originally posted by @Alex M. :

If you put a clause in the lease allowing you to inspect with 24 hours notice, and stating that you may exercise the option to inspect on a monthly basis - then you can choose to go if you want, or not. As I am about to draft my first lease, I am thinking about ways to structure it that allows me the greatest control and access possible - with the hope that I will not need to use it as I will have great tenants.

 Would you sign that lease?  I wouldn't.  Once a month is excessive.

We have a tenant that takes excellent care of the house. We see her once or twice a year. Most of the others are the same, but my contractor will stop by quarterly to change the A/C filters for them. He doesn't snoop around, but makes sure nothing is drastically different - new paint, etc. He checks for leaks and asks the tenant if anything needs fixing. 

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