Why Do Rental Inspections?
Investing in a rental property comes with risk. Tenants may cause property damage, often unintentionally. This could lead to more extended vacancy periods, higher turnover, and a lower return on investment. Property managers conduct inspections respectfully, assessing the property’s current condition, verifying the asset is in good condition – before, during, and after the rental period. Bi-annual inspections allow owners and property managers to catch issues early and prevent any problems from getting worse.
According to a Denver Post article titled “One likely winner as Denver requires rental licenses? Home inspectors.” Denver City Council passed a law requiring rental-housing inspections and licenses for landlords beginning next year. Property evaluations will be required every four years by certified inspectors. Many of the program details still need to be worked out.
Rental Inspection Types
DenCO Property Management recommends that inspections be written into the rental agreement. Below are descriptions of inspection types.
A move-in inspection creates a clean slate to assess property damages when the tenant moves out. Use a move-in checklist, along with photos and videos, to document the property’s condition. The tenant signs the list, which becomes an addendum to the lease. Move-in inspections protect both the landlord and tenant and lessen the likelihood of disputes. Not doing move-in inspections means tenants can contest any damage, saying it was already there before the move-in. A move-in inspection avoids this scenario.
Bi-Annual Maintenance Inspections
DenCO Property Management recommends two inspections per year. The primary purpose is to identify any needed repairs and conduct property maintenance to enhance the home’s habitability. Property managers review the property to determine whether the tenant complies with the terms and conditions of the lease.
Unlike a routine inspection, a drive-by does not require giving the tenant advance notice since there is no entering the property. A simple drive allows the landlord to determine if the tenant follows the lease terms such as roommates, pets, and landscape maintenance. For example, if a car is always parked in the driveway, but the license plate is not included on the tenant application form, it may belong to an unauthorized roommate. If the property manager suspects a tenant is not in compliance, it is time to schedule a routine inspection. It is better to address any issues early with the renter before property damage occurs.
When the time comes for a tenant to leave, property managers must perform a move-out inspection after vacating the premises. Be sure to bring a copy of the move-in checklist to help compare the current property condition to when the tenant moved in. The comparison identifies any tenant-caused damage. DenCO Property Management provides the tenant with an itemized list and all repair receipts when the security deposit is returned.
Roofs are probably the most significant cost item associated with rentals. Regular inspections find any damage from age, hail, wind, or fallen limbs that can expose the interior of a home to water damage and deterioration. Moisture in the wrong place can wreak havoc on plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
How Do You Perform a Rental Property Inspection?
DenCO Property Management recommends giving the renter plenty of notice when the inspection will occur. Colorado law does not specify inspection notice; however, it is common to provide 48 hours of advanced warning. Below is a list of to-dos when performing a rental property inspection:
- If needed, gently remind the tenant that they were informed about routine inspections when signing the lease.
- Check the heating system to ensure it is in working order before cold weather hits in the fall.
- Clean all rain gutters to drain water away from the house.
- Ensure the lawn irrigation and home cooling systems work well in the spring.
- Inspect if the yard is in good order and request the removal of any trash.
- During every inspection, makes sure all appliances work correctly.
- Confirm that all smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and lighting function.
- Make sure the fire extinguishers are up-to-date and positioned correctly.
- Take photos of any damage inside and out.
- To respect tenant privacy, be sure not to take pictures of children, pets, or personal items.
Preventive maintenance keeps the current tenant happy and readies the property for the next renter.
Spring Specific Property Management Tasks
Inspect Gutters – Gutters fill up in the spring with litter from trees like twigs, seeds, flowers, and leaves. Use a hose to clean the gutters and unclog all the downspouts. Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause damp basements and foundations as water flows over the gutters and down walls rather than away from the house.
Clean Foundation Vents – These vents help circulate air to keep substructures and basements dry. The screens make a perfect catch-all for leaves, twigs, and other debris that accumulate over the winter. Clean the vents by hand or use a shop vacuum.
Address Moisture Buildup – Water that seeps into a home finds low spots and, over time, becomes moldy. Spring home inspections identify any damp places. If a wet area is located, use a dehumidifier to dry the area before mold grows.
Change Furnace Filter – Changing the filter in the spring provides the home with better air quality and optimizes the running of its HVAC system. A new filter reduces the amount of dust and other allergens circulated when the central air conditioning system turns on. Also, a clean filter saves money because the system runs more efficiently using less energy.
Central Air System Check-up – Ensure the outside A/C unit and fan is clear of all debris and uncovered. Make sure that the thermostat is switched to cool.
Boost That Curb Appeal – A beautiful landscape increases a home’s curb appeal and rentability. Spring landscaping includes yard cleanup, lawn aeration, reseeding, fertilization, and pruning of shrubs or trees.
Landlord Acceptable Behavior
Property managers and landlords should explain that inspections ensure that the home is in good condition. The notification provides the tenant with time to clean and fix any damage they may have caused. The tenant has the right to “quiet enjoyment” of the rental property, so give plenty of notice before an inspection.
DenCO Property Management treats tenants with the utmost respect. If we uncover issues, we will request to meet with the tenant first to notify them about any violations. If the problems are presented to the leaseholder politely and professionally, we have found that they respond well and stop the violations.
A well-maintained property raises the property’s value and improves the enjoyment of the home, encouraging tenants to stay longer. It is best to be proactive so the property will be in good shape when the next tenant moves in. Got any questions about rental property inspections? Call us at 303-722-9688 or click here to go to our website.