Do you inspect your rental with or without tenant being there?

8 Replies

Hi everyone. I'm still kind of a newbie at this and just trying to see how everyone's doing it. When you're doing your routine inspection for a SFH, is it better to schedule your visit with the tenant being at home? Or it doesn't matter if they're at home or not as long as you give them an advanced notice? What about 2-4 units?

We do quarterly inspections. We don't care if they are there. We are in and out in 5-10 minutes.

Originally posted by @Nathan Vu :

Hi everyone. I'm still kind of a newbie at this and just trying to see how everyone's doing it. When you're doing your routine inspection for a SFH, is it better to schedule your visit with the tenant being at home? Or it doesn't matter if they're at home or not as long as you give them an advanced notice? What about 2-4 units?

We do move out inspections without the tenant present. Regular inspections it doesn't matter. The reason we do move out inspections without the tenant present is to ensure our safety. Some tenants can get quite combative when you point out damage and they want to know right on the spot how much it will cost. And heave forbid if you don't catch something while they are there and later on bill them for it.

I have a move in / move out condition form that we use here in CT and MA, happy to share it with you (and anyone else reading this) if you think there's value in it. 

 

@Nathan Vu I do a walkthrough of the property with the tenants on move in day.  It provides an overview of the property to the tenant and smooths over the inventory condition form.  I also have the tenant present when doing the inspections.  I like to explain the the tenant in person any issues that might arise.  I believe it resolves a lot of miscommunication or future problems. 

You need to give them advanced notice. Whether they are there is up to them, not you. I would probably prefer they aren't there, but it's not our choice and it's easy enough to do with them there so it isn't a big deal.

In my state (CA) inspections are illegal with the exception of tenant move out by request. Best be sure about the law where you are. It is possible to create a requirement that leads to an inadvertent inspection i.e. a contractor needs to bid a job - something like that. I have been making it very clear that while I cannot require them to be absent while I am there it is highly recommended due to covid / social distancing concerns.

Doing all this by the book assures they can't come after you for a violation of their privacy and it also puts them in a place where they can potentially mess up giving you ammunition should you need to get rid of them for cause later. Keep scrupulous records.

Regular inspections can be with or without the tenant present.

Move-out inspections are ALWAYS done without the tenant present because they will do everything they can to distract you or argue over everything.

Some states require you to conduct the inspection with the tenant. IF that's the case, you should still be able to conduct your own inspection without them present. Check your state law to confirm.

Initially, I checked up every couple months but once I got the sense that my tenants were a good responsible family, I reduced the frequency to 6 months. These days, I go in once a year.

One low-key method I like to use is to schedule a visit to change the batteries in the smoke detectors. This gives you a legitimate excuse to tour every room in the property during the lease without being too intrusive. Just order the Amazon Basics batteries in bulk. As for damages, I wouldn't worry too much about drywall, paint, or carpet. To calm your fears a bit, I'd say you can ask for some additional deposit funds as a condition of renewing their lease if you're concerned that their damages will eventually overrun the security deposit. The bottom line is that nobody likes to feel that they're living under a microscope. You want them to stay put and decrease your long term holding costs with regard to vacancy and turnover expenses.