When owning rental property, a key part of rental property management is to conduct inspections. Regular inspections keep the property in excellent condition and provide an opportunity to proactively address any issues. Rental property owners should conduct these regular inspections or hire a rental management company to conduct these inspections for them.
Why Conduct Rental Property Inspections
There are several reasons to conduct property inspections. It is important that real estate investment properties are being kept in the condition you’d like to see them kept in. Regularly inspecting the property provides the opportunity to proactively address any problems. They should be part of any agreements with licensed property managers or should be conducted yourself.
Address Maintenance Issues – Conducting an inspection allows you to see any essential maintenance issues or repairs. Tenants may not always let a property manager or landlord know when something needs to be addressed. Regular maintenance and addressing any issues help maintain the value of your property.
Check-in with tenants. An inspection allows you to check in with tenants on any questions or concerns that have come up. It is also a chance for the rental property management inspector to make sure that tenants are following guidelines set out in the agreement. Regular checks help a tenant stick to the terms of the agreement and not make any modifications to the property. An inspection lets tenants know your value their health and safety and that of your property. A periodic check with tenants provides an opportunity for them to let you know about anything they are unhappy with and a chance for you to address it to prevent good tenants from leaving.
Maintain Property Value – Regular inspections help you stay informed about what is going on with your property. It is an opportunity to confirm a property is being well cared for or to take steps if basic standards are not being met.
Types of Rental Property inspections
1.Insurance Inspection – Your homeowner’s insurance may also want to inspect the property. This ensures adequate coverage and to identify any hazards. Typically this will take place when you apply for your homeowner’s policy or when major updates or renovations happen.
2. Pre-Management Inspection – If you choose to hire a rental management company, together you should conduct a top to bottom inspection of the property. This thorough inspection allows the rental management company to know the condition of the property, any required work to take care of, and to discuss any expectations in your Terms of Agreement.
3. Move-in Inspection – Each rental term should include an inspection conducted by the property management company or landlord and the tenant(s). Both parties should document and sign acknowledging agreement. Make sure doors, windows, light fixtures, appliances are working properly. Use a checklist to rate the condition of everything on the property and take detailed notes and photos or videos.
4. Routine or Seasonal Maintenance Inspections – Performing seasonal maintenance like cleaning gutters or changing furnace filters is a good time to do a routine inspection. It’s an opportunity to check for any necessary repairs and to make sure tenants are complying with the terms of the rental agreement.
5. Drive-by Inspection – Conducting drive-by inspections at different times of the day or week allows you to check on the exterior of the property without disturbing the tenants. This can uncover long-term guests not included on the lease or any pets not agreed to be on the property.
6. Move-out Inspection – When a tenant moves out, an inspection verifies the condition of the property compared to the state of the property when the tenant moved in. It is best to perform this inspection on the same day the tenant moves out so there is no dispute about responsibilities for any changes to the condition of the property. Using the move-in checklist, you can note any changes since the tenant started living in the property.
Following Guidelines for Tenants When Conducting Inspections
Tenants renting the property have rights and any inspections should comply with BC property laws. The Residential Tenancy Act in British Columbia laws requires a condition inspection report completed, signed, and dated by the landlord and prospective tenant(s) for move-ins and move-outs.
Give proper notice – In BC, tenants must receive a written notice indicating the date, time, and purpose of the inspection at least 24 hours in advance. The inspection must be conducted between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Document it – especially important during move-in and move-out inspections, but any inspection should be properly documented including photos or videos.
Respect Privacy – Tenants have a right to enjoy the property. When entering for inspections, respect their property in the home.
Regular Inspections Pay Off
Regular inspections help property owners maintain the value of their property. Uncovering any issues allows you to get ahead of them before they become an even bigger cost and problem.
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