Guide to Property Inspections

If you thought your job as a rental property owner got easier after you moved a renter in your Salt Lake property, we hate to be the bearer of bad news! Keeping an eye on your Salt Lake City rental property is a year-round task. 

Choosing quality renters means you place people in your property that you can trust to take good care of it—but that doesn’t mean things can’t (and won’t) go wrong. Even the best residents can cause damage, and you never know when a ‘good’ renter will go ‘bad’ and accidentally (or intentionally) harm your property.

  • Routine property inspections are one of the most important ways to protect your investment.
  • Being onsite helps you stay on top of maintenance issues while also keeping an eye on your residents’ behavior and care for your rental.

What kind of inspections should property owners do? Follow this guide from professional property management!

Detective looking through magnifying glass in subway tunnel

The Move-In Inspection

Most property investors know that it’s essential to inspect a property before a new renter moves in. You’ve completed the Makeready Process, and your next step is to document the condition of the property before your new renters take up residence in the property.

Never cut corners when going through any property inspection. Don’t assume something is in good condition until you’ve laid eyes on it and made a note of it!

Your inspection at this stage should include: 

  • A walk-through of the property’s interior and exterior
  • Running the appliances to confirm that they work
  • Checking all light switches and faucets
  • Noting the condition of doors, walls, ceiling fans, window blinds, and flooring.

Document everything about the property and take photos. File the inspection documentation for reference when your renters move out. You’ll have the evidence that your property was in excellent condition before renters moved in to compare to how they leave the property at the end of their lease.

The Move-Out Inspection

When a renter decides not to renew the lease, you’ll need to conduct a move-out inspection before they turn in the keys to your property. Let residents know when you plan to inspect while they still live in the property to avoid any renter privacy or owner’s right to enter violations.

  • Bring the move-in inspection documentation with you and compare the property’s current condition to the original condition when the resident moved in.
  • Take photos and provide a written notice to your renter to let them know about the cost of any damages that you’ll deduct from the security deposit.
  • Do not confront your renter about these issues in person: this could get dangerous for you as the property owner.

Make sure you understand the difference between ‘normal wear and tear‘ versus resident damage. Property owners cannot deduct the costs of repairing wear-and-tear that happens as a result of daily life in a rental home.

Mid-Lease Inspections

But wait, there’s more! A lot can happen in (or to) your Salt Lake rental property between the move-in and move-out dates. Checking on your property during a lease term helps protect your investment—and ensures that your renters are maintaining their responsibilities outlined in the lease agreement.

When performing a mid-lease inspection:

  • Make sure the lease agreement notes the timing of these inspections
  • Let your residents know when you plan to perform the inspection
  • Review the interior and exterior of your property
  • Look for potential maintenance issues to add to your preventative maintenance schedule
  • Document lease violations.

If possible, we recommend that you schedule this inspection when residents are home. The mid-lease inspection is an excellent time to build a good relationship with your residents. Check on them, ask them if they’ve had any problems with appliances or other aspects of the property, and make sure they’re happy.

If you find lease violations or a lack of upkeep as outlined in the lease, remind them of their responsibilities. Talk with your residents about the costs to make necessary repairs that are a result of their negligence or direct actions. However, you should only do this after you have left the property rather than instigating a confrontation.

Drive-By Inspections

Unannounced drive-by inspections give property owners a way to check on your rentals without letting residents know you’re stopping by. You won’t be able to enter your property without giving notice to your residents, but you can view the exterior of your property and make a note of any concerns.

Remember: you’re not there to spy on your residents! However, routinely laying eyes on your property helps protect your investments—and avoid significant issues that can become expensive problems.

Smiling handsome plumber holding clipboard and looking at camera in kitchenChoose Property Management Professionals for Inspections!

Keeping a regular schedule of thorough property inspections can be an overwhelming, time-consuming task for property owners. With multiple properties, you might struggle to keep up with the inspections required to protect your properties and your bottom line.

If you never planned to spend that much time dealing with your property hands-on, the Reeder Asset Management team is here for you! We never let too much time pass before we take a look at your property and check in on things with your residents. Our expert property management services include all of the inspections we mentioned here to protect your investments and income!

We mentioned how crucial the Makeready Process is as part of the property turn and inspection lifecycle. To learn more about what we look for as your property manager—or to tackle this procedure like a pro—download your free copy of our Makeready Checklist!

Posted by:
Reeder Asset Management on September 24, 2020