Rental property inspections are the best tool you have to protect the condition of your investment home and ensure your tenants are following the terms of your lease. Inspections also allow you to check for deferred and unreported damage, which can get expensive if not taken care of right away.
You probably already understand that it’s essential to inspect before tenants move in and after tenants move out. These inspections will help you document the condition of your property before and after the residency.
It’s also important to conduct an annual inspection while the property is occupied. This can be difficult because California law is strict about when and how you should enter a tenant’s occupied home. You want to respect the privacy of your tenants and their right to quiet enjoyment of the home.
There’s a right way to do these inspections, and we’re discussing that in today’s blog.
Rental Property Walk-Through During the Lease Period
Pay attention to the terminology you use. An inspection can mean something that’s done by a professional home inspector to ensure the property is up to code and habitable. That won’t be necessary during every lease period.
However, a walk-through is something that you’ll want to do. If you’re working with an Irvine property manager, you won’t have to worry about this because your property manager will do it for you while being mindful of tenant relations.
If you’re self-managing, however, you’ll want to be proactive about communicating with your tenants about the walk-through you intend to conduct.
Tenant Relations and Expectations
Discuss your need to conduct a rental property walk-through early in your relationship with a tenant, ideally when that tenant is signing the lease. Make sure you reference the walk-through in your actual lease document. Then, provide your tenants with as much written notice as possible before you go to the property to look around.
Give your residents the option to be present when you’re walking through the home. Take photos of this inspection too, and if the tenant is at home, ask if everything is going well or if there’s anything they need. Look for deferred or unreported maintenance items, and put everything in writing.
Inspections should be routine but not invasive. It’s about protecting your investment and ensuring your residents are having a pleasant rental experience. We’d be happy to help with this.
What to Look for During a Rental Property Walk-Through
The main purpose of your walk-through is to make sure there isn’t anything that needs maintenance. You are responsible for providing a safe and habitable rental home, so you’ll want to make sure the locks are working on doors and windows. Check the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. Ensure there aren’t any loose handrails or steps. Take a look at the air filters and lighting. Look for potential leaks under sinks and behind toilets.
You should also make a note of whether there are any concerns about how the tenant is caring for your property. Lease violations should be addressed immediately. If there were no pets when the tenant moved in, for example, but you see cat litter and food bowls, you know you may have a problem.
A good tenant relationship often leads to property and seamless inspections. If you’d like some help with this or anything pertaining to Irvine property management, please contact us at HCM Property Management.