Rental property inspections are one of the more mundane rental property management tasks. Don't ignore them though because even the nicest of tenants can be absolute slobs!
Download your free Property Inspection Letter Template here.
And the moral of these stories?
Don't let your inspections slip -- no matter what your first impressions of a tenant are. You never know what is going on behind closed doors!
You might decide to do an inspection for any of the following reasons:
Make sure you put your inspection policy into your lease and draw your tenant's attention to it when they are signing. This way there will be no surprises later on.
On any inspection it is a good idea to have a copy of the letter you sent with you and any other relevant correspondence too.
The norm for frequency of rental property inspections tends to be quarterly. Any more frequent than this -- without good reason -- will be annoying for a tenant.
You may want to adjust the frequency of inspections depending on what you find but it is a good idea to keep them regular no matter what, as things can change.
It is impractical to do a full check of the inventory on each visit but you'll obviously be able to tell whether major items have gone missing.
You will want to inspect the following points when you visit. You may find it useful to have a printed checklist to bring with you so that you don't forget anything while you're there.
If the tenant is not keeping the property as you would expect then follow up your visit with a letter stating the issues and arranging a follow-up inspection, giving the tenant time to rectify the issue(s).
When rent is paid late and you are unable to contact the tenant by phone, arrange an inspection as soon as possible.
If you suspect that they may have left permanently, then take a witness with you and a camera to document what you see.
If the tenant is not present, then you can do a bit of detective work to see if they have left or not:
If you suspect that your tenant has absconded -- tempting as it may be -- unfortunately you can't just change the locks and get another tenant.
You need to tread very carefully as tenants can come back after they have apparently left and there are large fines for unlawful eviction!
Consult a solicitor before proceeding if this happens to you.