Owning an investment property can be a lucrative and incredibly rewarding experience, especially when you have the right tenant for your property. Unfortunately, things do not always work out perfectly in the real estate market and that dream tenant can turn into your worst nightmare. This is why property inspections are so vitally important.
But how do you handle a property inspection on an occupied unit and what is the correct protocol to follow?
First of all, give advance notice of an inspection you plan to conduct on your rental property. If everthing is running smoothly and you don’t suspect any law breaking activity, an impromptu inspection should never be necessary. The law actually states that advance notice should always be given to the tenant unless a local law or ordinance has been broken. Check with your attorney for local laws about what is required in your area.
When conducting the inspection, always encourage your tenant to be present. Promote friendly conversation, as this is the ideal platform to ask the tenant if they have any issues with the property and if anything needs fixing. Receiving early feedback from your tenant is very helpful as this can save you a lot of money in the long run as it can prevent further damage from occurring. Encourage your tenant to contact you if any repair work is necessary.
Do not keep the tenant in the dark when it comes to inspections: explain why you are doing them and that it is for theirs, as well as for your own benefit. You should never make your tenant feel as if you are policing them by inspecting the property.
Take photographs of any items that need repairs or maintenance. However, always be careful not to include any personal items of your tenant in the photographs, as this will infringe upon their privacy. Again, always check with your attorney to make sure you are following the proper procedure.
Conducting regular property inspections on occupied units are essential and need not be awkward. When in doubt, use your discretion and remain polite at all times. Your property management company is also a huge asset in this area and can help you navigate any tricky situations.