Why Do I Need To Inspect My Property While It Is Rented?
I would want to protect and maintain the integrity of my investment. The only way I know how is with boots on the ground, up close and personal. Renters who expect an owner to inspect the premises even once a year are more likely to keep it in good shape. Otherwise, entropy, occurs.
Agree with @Carlos Enriquez . Your residents need to know that you (or your property manager) are keeping a watchful eye out on the property and aren't going to let the place go to junk status while they are living there.
Depending on the unit size, you should set up a recurring inspection plan. For example, SFH could have a visual driveby once per month. If you provided blinds when they moved in, and you suddenly see a sheet over a window, remind the residents they are responsible for replacing that blind when you send your next statement to them. It subtly lets them know you are keeping an eye out on the property and what they are responsible for fixing before leaving.
If the unit has a forced air HVAC system, schedule filter replacements every three months. Gets you in to look at the property, although you really cannot do a full property inspection. You could also do a battery check in smoke and CO detectors every six months. Make sure with any interior inspections you are giving proper notice according to your state laws.
All this really does is let you resident know you are watchful, professional, and careful with your property. And that you expect the same from them.
In addition to ensuring they are not trashing the place or violating lease terms like allowing a day care or breaking pet policy, these homes are an investment, and tenants and property managers do not look at your investment with the same interest that you would. A tenant will usually wait until something is actually interfering with his quality of life before he calls for a repair, which usually means the difference between a quick fix and a major repair bill if you're not on top of things. We have found it essential to visit our properties and look for things an owner would notice -- is it time to repaint outside trim and porch rails, treat decks, repair loose fence pickets, etc., items that would get very expensive if neglected but tenants don't ever call about.
I agree. I still collect rents and able to spot check a unit then. It doesn't get me into every room, but gives you a great sense on what is going on.
But don't be afraid to tell them up from when renting the place that you like to perform inspections. Hey, if Section 8 can require one 9 months or so every yearly cycle, why can't we ?
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