Quarterly Walkthrough - What to look for? What to ask?

5 Replies

When you do a walkthrough of a rented unit (assuming you do) what are some of the things to look out for? 

Also, what questions are you asking? 

I am looking for smoking inside, making sure the electrical outlets are covered, dripping faucets among others. Just wanted to get a feel for what others do.

How often do you do walkthrough inspections? Semi Annually, Yearly, Quarterly, etc.? Does it matter if the tenant is newer or long term?

Any response would be greatly appreciated.

i go inside and change the hvac filter every time the rent is due.  I check for signs of plumbing leakage in the kitchen and baths and do a visual inspection for any noticeable damage.  I also test the smoke alarms.  I have nice homes so I expect them to stay nice.

When I managed an apartment building, we (the owner who did most of his own maintenance) and I would do inspections twice a year.  I think doing inspections more often is too invasive.

We checked the smoke detectors and put in new batteries, checked for running toilets (runs the water bill up and we paid the water bill), checked plumbing for leaks, including under sinks, checked the window a/c unit to be sure it's not leaking where it could cause damage, checked to see if the heater and/or a/c units were working.

We'd ask if they needed the pilot light turned on or off for the gas heater, depending on time of year (they can make a place too warm in summer).  We'd ask if anything else needed to be fixed.

We didn't get any more invasive than that.

I now live in subsidized senior housing, and they all do quarterly inspections.  It seems like every time you turn around, you're getting another notice of entry for an inspection.  I think quarterly inspections are too much for non-subsidized housing, where it's required by the government.  I would protest if I lived in non-subsidized housing and was told I'd be invaded 4 times a year.  It's still their home and I think tenants should feel like it's their home, with minimal intrusion.  Otherwise, you feel like your life is being inspected, rather than just the building.  

And as a former manager, unless you catch them in the act of smoking, it's about impossible to kick out a tenant for smoking.  Your best bet is to just not rent to them in the first place, if possible.  They'll all just tell you they're smoking outside and it must be on their clothes, etc.  Your best bet is to just not renew their lease.

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We do mid-lease, or schedule one if the exterior looks rough on a drive-by.

I look for obvious signs of neglect or physical damage as well as leaks, dirty filters, unauthorized pets, smoking, or extra bodies.

Nothing is said at the time, except to coach someone, but written notice is provided for things that need to change.

We do quarterly maintenance and give plenty of advance notice. Replace the air filter, check the sinks and toilets for leaks, and just do a quick glance around. Only takes about 5 minutes. Usually no one is at home so we don't ask any questions. We ask them ahead of time what is a good time for them and if they would like to be there or not, also if they have noticed anything that needs our attention. We've never had any push back from tenants and I think quarterly gives us a good pulse on the unit.

Quarterly inspections are to a landlord and a tenants advantage. It may be the tenants home but it is a owners investment and a lot can go wrong in 3 months. Tenants should be assumed to be incompetent and lack the understanding to care about the upkeep of the property. If tenants do not appreciate the landlords pro active approach to property upkeep (quarterly inspections) then you do not want them as tenants. They are more than quick to complain if something is not fixed in 24 hrs. but do not appreciate the fact that you want to be pro active in avoiding property damage and tenants calls.

Check walls, doors, cabinets, floors, flooring, windows etc. for any physical damage. Kitchens, baths, windows and any confined spaces are checked for mold. Confirm bathroom and kitchen fans are working. Hot water tank (check for leaks), furnace, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors all confirmed to be working properly. Check around all doors and windows for water leaks. All plumbing is checked for leaks both water coming in and drains out. Confirm all lights and switches are working properly as well as all electrical appliances. Turn everything on and off several times. Confirm tenant is keeping property clean especially any areas where food is present. Check the entire exterior for damage.

Ask tenants if there are any issues they need addressed. All information is filled in on form, reviewed by tenant and signed by tenant. Anything you find to be damaged or in need of repairs you take pictures of at the time.