Landlord Tips & Tricks
April 18, 2023

Landlord Inspection Checklist for Rental Property

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As a rental property owner, it's essential to carry out rental property inspections regularly. A landlord inspection checklist helps you stay organized and inspect the property easily. Landlord inspection checklists provide a guide to all the key areas to assess the condition of an apartment or home. They protect both you and your tenants from misunderstandings or disagreements.

In this article, we'll discuss what must be included in an effective landlord inspection checklist for your rental property. We'll also provide tips on how to conduct a thorough tenant walkthrough with your checklist in hand.

Why Regular Inspections Are Important?

Regular property inspections have numerous benefits. From identifying maintenance issues to staying in compliance with local laws and regulations, inspections are a crucial aspect of property management. By being proactive in addressing any issues, you can prevent them from turning into more significant problems that may require extensive repairs or even legal action.

By investing time and resources into regular inspections, you can maintain your property's value, improve tenant satisfaction, and ultimately save money in the long run.

Types of Inspections

There are various types of inspections, each with its own specific purpose, scope, and procedure. Let’s take a look at the different types of inspections.

Move-in inspections

The purpose of the move-in inspection is to document the property's condition in writing and visually using a standard checklist. This allows you to have a full picture of the property's condition so you can avoid blaming tenants for pre-existing damage at the lease term's end.

Consequently, landlords are highly encouraged to conduct a move-in inspection with their new tenants to build trust, promote transparency, and prevent future disputes. As a final step, both you and the tenants should sign the inspection report. In summary, move-in inspections are a necessary step in ensuring the fair and lawful lease of rental properties, safeguarding the rights and interests of both you and your tenants.

Quarterly inspections

Quarterly inspections evaluate the current state of your property and ensure tenant compliance with the lease agreement. Conducted four times a year, these assessments coincide with seasonal maintenance, taking into account the distinct challenges each season brings.

For instance, during the winter, landlords should check the heating system, insulation, and pipes to ensure they can withstand the colder temperatures. During summer, air conditioning systems, ventilation, and outdoor areas should be examined. These inspections help identify and address an issue early, which prevents more significant problems down the road.

Drive-by inspections

Another type of inspection is a drive-by inspection. This cursory assessment involves driving past your rental property and looking it over from the outside for any signs of damage, deterioration, or unauthorized activity.

By performing a drive-by inspection frequently and at various times of the day, you can identify the presence of unauthorized pets or roommates, unapproved renovations or alterations, or other potential problems that may require further investigation. While drive-by inspections do not involve entering the property or interacting with tenants, it is important to respect their privacy and rights as renters.

Move-out inspections

A move-out inspection is an essential process that landlords conduct after a tenant vacates a rental property. The inspection aims at identifying any damages to the property that goes beyond normal wear and tear. You should use a standard checklist to track the condition of the rental before and after each lease term begins. This way, you can easily spot any changes or damages that occurred during the tenancy period, such as broken fixtures, damaged walls, or stained carpets.

Conducting a move-out inspection is crucial as a landlord as it enables you to determine any deductions you may have to make from the tenant's security deposit to cover the repair costs. Besides, performing a move-out inspection helps to maintain the property's condition and ensure that it's habitable for the next tenant.

Landlord Inspection Checklist

To assist you with your property inspection, we have included what should be on a standard checklist. This covers all the necessary aspects of rental property maintenance.

  • Inspect the Heating System and Air Vents
  • Fire Safety
  • Signs of Bugs and Pests
  • Water Leaks and Water Damage
  • Property Damage (walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows)
  • Signs of Unauthorized Pets
  • Toilets, Sinks, and Faucets
  • Appliances
  • General Cleanliness – Including Exterior and Interior Condition of Property
  • Illegal Activity

Following this landlord inspection checklist can provide comprehensive guidance to facilitate safe, secure, and comfortable living arrangements for your tenants, thereby ensuring a satisfactory customer experience.

How to Perform a Rental Property Inspection

It’s necessary to approach these inspections with sensitivity and care, respecting the legal rights of your renters and maintaining their trust. Here are our tips on how to perform a rental property inspection with ease.

Give Notice: Begin by giving prior notice of the inspection and encouraging your tenant to be present. Take the time to explain why the inspection is necessary and listen to any concerns or questions your tenant may have.

Use a Checklist of Items to Inspect: The first step in performing a rental property inspection is to use a checklist of all the items you need to inspect. This checklist should include both the interior and exterior of the property, as well as any common areas shared by tenants. Be sure to check off each item as you inspect it so you do not forget anything.

Inspect the Exterior of the Property: Start by inspecting the exterior of the property. This includes checking for any damage to the building itself, as well as any landscaping issues such as overgrown grass or dead trees. If there is any damage, be sure to take note of it.

Inspect the Interior of the Property: Next, inspect the property’s interior. Check for damage to walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows. Be sure to also check for any signs of pests such as mice or cockroaches. Again, if you find any damage, be sure to take note of it. While inspecting the property, avoid photographing personal items or anything unrelated to the rental property’s condition.

Check Common Areas: If there are any common areas shared by tenants, be sure to check those as well. This includes checking for cleanliness, as well as any damage or maintenance issues.

Discuss Your Findings: Once you have finished your inspection, sit down with your tenants and discuss your findings. Be sure to go over any damage you find, as well as any concerns you have about the common areas or other aspects of the property.

Additionally, never engage in a confrontation with tenants. Instead, use the inspection to foster a positive relationship by discussing any potential deductions or repairs that need to be made, providing your tenant with the opportunity to rectify the situation.

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, performing a variety of rental property inspections is an essential task that all landlords should prioritize. One of the most significant takeaways is to ensure that when you use a checklist, it includes every area of the property, from the exterior to the interior. This includes appliances and fixtures, electrical and plumbing systems, and structural components. Take photographs of any damages or potential issues and keep a comprehensive record of the inspection.

It is crucial to conduct regular inspections throughout the tenancy to identify and repair any problems before they become major issues, ultimately protecting both you the landlord, and your tenants.

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