How to set up 2-3 month inspections for all propeties?

17 Replies

So we have a pretty good system so far managing our own rental properties and just hired a contractor/maintenance man. We need to set up inspections every 2-3 months and how is the best way to have it set up for all all properties? Curious how to do that and not get tangled up and not be able to set everything up same day with all properties and run smoothly?

I like a spreadsheet. You can have a column for each inspection period  and check it off  after completion. I made it a point to have all tenants email addresses and can give them required notice well in advance. 

I like a spreadsheet. You can have a column for each inspection period  and check it off  after completion. I made it a point to have all tenants email addresses and can give them required notice well in advance. 

@John Thedford trying to have everything in the business very systematic and learning things but wanna improve to as hangs off as possible. I wonder can I just do the first of the month say every 2-3 months? What’s better 2 or 3 month inspections? I would think 3. Any advice with this? Or in general with getting my 9 properties running smoothly to be able to get to 100-1000 and even more?

I think an inspection every 3 months is more than most Property Owners do

I think maybe two a year is more than most landlords do but do whatever you're good with you can always alter your schedule later

I think a quarterly inspection is too much, particularly as you grow. I currently manage 300 units. If I dedicated 30 minutes to schedule, commute, inspect, and document every unit, it would add up to an entire month every year. Most of the tenants would be fine. Only a small percentage would have issues significant enough to address but those are typically the same people that are already identified for lease violations.

You also have to consider the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment. They don't need a babysitter checking over their shoulder every three months.

I inspect once a year, typically in the latter half. This enables me to determine if I want to renew with them. Or, if they are leaving, it allows me to forecast maintenance and minimize turnover time.

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

You also have to consider the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment. They don't need a babysitter checking over their shoulder every three months.

This is a point I agree 100% with. I'm not renting cells in a prison, I'm renting someone a home. If I've placed a tenant that needs to be checked-in on every other month, or even quarterly, I've failed as a PM. I never visit just to perform an inspection, period, unless there is some other circumstance causing me to do so.

I visit when the lease gets signed and renewed. My maintenance crew visits in the winter to change the furnace filters and explain how to use the thermostat. And usually between then there is a small maintenance call my crew attends to. Those visits are enough to realize if something crazy is going on with the property. If you need to go by more than that, you have a tenant screening problem or an anxiety problem. Frequently checking in just isn't a scale-able model.

Wow every 2-3 months is  excessive.  If there is a problem in the first inspection that they need to remediate, I understand going back over there, but other than that, it is intrusive and unneeded, in my opinion.

If there is a repair request, you can go in at that time.

At my company, we go in prior to lease renewals to make sure everything is good.  We've also checked with prior landlords prior to putting them in the home, etc.

I inspect every 4 months and contrary to the opinions of some I am not checking up on the tenant I am inspecting my property. Yes I do find tenant caused problems but I do not want a water leak to go unreported for 6 months to a year without catching it. Leaking toilets, dead batteries in smoke detectors (serious safety violation), HVAC filters, broken windows, mold etc. all issues a landlord needs to catch early.

I do not care what my tenants feel about these inspections. My properties is far to valuable to be ignored and I never trust tenants to be responsible.

@Thomas S. How I feel and thanks everyone else for The input. So how do you schedule inspections like same day with all your properties and have it convenient for you and the tenant? Can I just give notice that I’m sending my maintenance guy over to do a inspection? Do the tenants have to be there? How to keep it simple?

@Joshua D. Check your local laws. Here in Chicago, we have to give 2 days written/posted notice to enter. Once notice is given, we can do so, with or without the tenant present. But again, building on my previous post, if you power-play over them and don't respect them, their home, and their privacy, the tenants WILL leave and your vacancy/turnover costs will kill whatever perceived savings you think you have from doing these frequent inspections.

This is a great topic. So I do my own pest control (about the only thing I don't outsource), I am combining that with the inspection. I was planning on doing this every 3 months as well. @Nathan G. would you consider this to be over cumbersome? I have 29 units and 7 properties so it takes only four hours at most.

@Collin Schwartz what kind of pests do you have in Nebraska that requires treatment every three months?

I think it's great that you're combining the inspection with a service because it sets your tenants at ease and makes it less of an intrusion. Landlords can do this with filter changes on the furnace, setting up or winterizing sprinklers, testing smoke detectors, etc.

I think it would be difficult to scale to 50, 100, or 300 units.

@Nathan G. just "normal" bugs. Most of my properties are 100 plus years old and have numerous bug "entrances" but minimal issues. I am also doing non emergency service requests such as, loose door handle repairs with the inspection.

I agree that at scale this will be difficult, but figure as I am in a beginners phase that I will sacrifice my time.

Thanks for the response!

@Collin Schwartz , the fact that you're doing non-emergency repair requests makes it a lot more likely folks won't balk at you coming.  Great thinking!

We do every six months, using changing the smoke detector batteries/testing as an excuse.  We sent out our state's required 24 hour notice to enter a week ahead of time.  We came with batteries , a few new smoke detectors to replace ones not working, lightbulbs and a flashlight, and tool bag.  As one of us changed the battery and tested the smoke detector, the other looked under the kitchen and bathroom sinks for leaks and general maintenance.  We changed a few burnt out light bulbs, found a fallen down towel bar in a bathroom that we took care of right then, and found a leak under a bathroom sink that required our handyman.  We quickly inspected to make sure no obvious damage.

We entered apartments when the residents were not home.  We left our business card with a notation "Smoke detector battery changed! :)" to let them know we had been there.  Degree of housekeeping varies, but as long as no health department offenses, all is good!

It took about 2 hours to do 6 units.

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