Periodic rental inspections

5 Replies

Hi there. I'm sure this subject has been discussed many times before.

However, I was wondering what methods and time frames other landlords are using for period tenant home inspections? Right now, I am physically going to properties every 60 days to replace furnace filters. This works ok on the 9 properties I go to now, but think it might be too much as I acquire more. Just curious as to what other landlord are doing.

We aim for twice a year, and while it would of course be ideal to do more often, it's just not very practical. Indeed, we've often only gotten out once per year and I know many landlords who don't get to them. I think you're fine with twice a year.

Twice a year is plenty. 

Don't get carried away with any "inspection" unless there is a health hazard as may be determined by a health department, you can cross the line with your idea of housekeeping, you can't tell someone to dust or pick up clothes on a bedroom floor or wipe the oven out (you could, but they can tell you to take a flying leap). 

Landlords often get too possessive trying to get tenants to live under their house rules, you don't live there and you leased the place granting quiet enjoyment of the property, they are in possession, you are not, that's what rent pays for. 

If you don't like how they live, don't renew the lease and stick them for cleaning if they leave it dirty, simple. 

Now, if you see damages, you can address that, but a door knob hole in the wall doesn't give sufficient grounds to terminate their right to lease, fix it and charge them, simple.

Landlords are not parents, at least with adult tenants. You selected them, you live with them, if all your tenants have issues in caring for your properties I'd have to ask.....whose fault is that? 

One of the dirtiest tenants I ever had was a nurse, somehow they know the difference between bad germs and harmless germs and don't mind company. :)

I manage 250 units and inspect once a year. I contact tenants 90 days prior to lease termination and ask if the intend to vacate or renew. If renewing, I want to inspect to ensure they are taking care of it before extendi g them for another year. If leaving, I want to know what to expect for cleaning and repairs.

The exception is when tenant is late in rent or has complaints or lease violations. Those are indicative of other problems and I'll set up an inspection.

This works well for me and the tenants appreciate me treating them like adults.

In my mind it comes down to trust and then verification.  I like the system @Nathan G. has in place, but for 250 units I would really hope he has a solid system.

Treat people like the adults that you rented to.  If you don't trust them to be respectful tenants, then why did you rent to them in the first place?  Going once or twice a year is fine, or presently if you are needing to go in to verify repair work then take some time while there to give the place a once over.  Again, look for damages or problems, not how they choose to live.

I do have a solid system! I use Propertyware for my accounting software. 90 days prior to lease termination, it emails my team, the tenant, and the owner that the lease is preparing to end and what needs to happen in the next 90 days. For the owner, it lets them know we intend to rent for an additional year unless we hear otherwise. This prevents the owner from coming back two months after lease renewal and telling us he wants to sell or move his son into the house.

I give the tenant their options to renew for an additional year, convert to a month-to-month with a rate increase, or move out. No matter what their choice, it lets them know we intend to inspect 60 days prior to their current termination date. At 60 days prior to termination, they are sent a second email telling them to call the office and schedule the inspection. If we don't hear back from them within one week, we schedule the inspection at our convenience and do it with or without them.

If they are moving out, we give them their move-out instructions and include a cleaning guide. We also let them know about anything we found in our pre-inspection so they have an opportunity to repair or clean before the final inspection. 

If they are renewing, we conduct the inspection to verify they are maintaining the property, not adding unauthorized tenants or pets, etc. We also ask them about any unreported maintenance issues because I don't want a bunch of little things turning into big things or adding up to a big cost at turnover. If everything looks good in the rental and their account history is good, we renew them or extend them.

I've been using this system for about two years. About 50% of my tenants get a full refund of their deposit. About 30% forfeit less than $100 of their deposit. About 18% have more than $100 in charges but they still get some deposit back. In the past 12 months, I've had six tenants leave owing more than their deposit would cover, which comes to about 2% of all renters. The average unpaid balance is $150. I would say that's pretty good!