There are four basic kinds of rental property inspections that a property manager or investor should perform regularly: move-in, move-out, drive-by, and in-home. If you’re not doing all four (or having them done by someone you trust), you’re putting yourself into a large amount of unnecessary risk. Here’s why:
When a tenant moves into a property, it’s important that the two of you create a list of every issue with the space that could, potentially, cause you to withhold any part of their security deposit when they move out. This is for their benefit, so that they aren’t held accountable for something that wasn’t their fault, but it’s also for your benefit, so that you have proof when they move out that any deductions you do make from their deposit are legitimate.|
You want this inspection to be performed by the tenant, so they feel satisfied that they are being as thorough as they want to be — but at the same time, you need to be present as well. That’s because you need to make a complete record of every issue they find, including written notes, pictures taken of each item, and even a final video walk-through at the end that visits each issue, showing the context of each problem. For example, you might not be able to tell after seven years that a particular picture of a crack in the drywall was taken in the front bedroom as opposed to the kitchen — so having a video (with the tenant in it!) to refer back to can be a godsend. Be certain to have the tenant sign off on all of their notes at the end so you have evidence that they approved the list of acknowledged issues.
As a homeowner, you know that preventative maintenance is essential to keeping your property in good condition — and it’s even more important when you own or manage a rental property. Your tenants can’t be expected to stay on top of all the home repair and maintenance tasks, so there are several items you should check off your rental management to-do list before winter sets in (even if your rental is in a warmer part of the country).