Owning a rental property is far riskier than buying your own home. Tenants can cause damage that leads to your property requiring more repair and potentially longer vacancy periods while repairs are underway.
Regular rental property inspections help you keep an eye on any issues before they grow and let your tenants know you are a committed landlord. You can verify and maintain the condition of your asset before, during, and after it’s rented out.
Let’s look a bit at the when and what of conducting a landlord inspection.
When to Conduct Inspections
Inspections provide a record of the condition of the property at a point in time. For that reason, they should be part of your regular maintenance routine as well as falling at specific times in the tenant relationship.
The two key times are when a tenant moves out or moves in. A move-in inspection establishes the baseline for the property condition that you will use to determine whether and how much of the security deposit should be returned. A good time to do it is when your new tenant gets the keys but before they move in.
A move-out inspection bookends the process when the tenant vacates. You can allow the tenant to walk through with you as you do the inspection, but it is not required.
It’s also a good idea to check the property a couple of times a year to do a routine maintenance check. In Arizona, you have to give tenants two days notice before you can enter the property. You should be checking for things that impact safety and security, overall cleanliness, and that all appliances and equipment are working properly.
How to Conduct Your Inspection
Your first step is to know what the lease says about inspections in terms of timing, notification, and frequency. Contact your tenant to schedule a time for the walk-through, explaining why you need to be there and what you’ll be looking for.
You can take photos to document any issues you see that might be an issue, but be careful to not get any personal items, children, or pets in the photos.
Your Inspection Checklist
Checklists provide you with consistency in your inspections as well as serve as evidence if a tenant wants to contest any damage you say they caused.
Your checklist should include some things that are universal to all your rental properties, then some that are specific to each location.
The general items include dates for move in, move out, and the inspections for each. Then include information about the condition of each room and outdoor spaces as they were at the time of inspection. You should have the tenant sign, and you countersign to accept the results of the inspection.
Need Help With Your Rental Property Inspections?
Inspections are an important part of managing and protecting your real estate investment. Knowing the how and when of conducting rental property inspections ensures you stay within the law and stay on top of any problems that might develop.
If you need help with the inspection process in Arizona, contact us to learn more about our property management services and landlord help.