One of the very best things that every landlord should do is schedule an inspection of their rental property quarterly, or every 6 months. This is important because an inspection will be an opportunity for the landlord to investigate the condition of the property and verify if their tenant has been following the rules of the lease or not.
What To Look For During An Inspection
It doesn’t matter if a tenant has been living in a property for 3 months or 6 months, there are a variety of things which every landlord should be reviewing during inspection including:
1. The Furnace and Air Conditioner
Furnaces and air conditioners are notorious for collecting dust and dirt from tenants not changing out filters. Inspect the filters and furnace to make sure that the tenants are keeping up with the replacements if needed. Don’t forget to check the outside A/C compressor units as well. Layers of dust, pollen, and grass can accrue on the units, causing them to run inefficiently. Clean all as needed.
Sinks are notorious for dripping and leaking, and tenants are notorious for not calling about these issues. Check the functionality of the sinks and all associated equipment like spray attachments and garbage disposals. Take a look under the sink to make sure there is no evidence of mold from past water leaks or water staining.
Sometimes I think toilets have cost landlords more money over simple fixes than any other water-related appliance in a house. In my previous article, I told you about how we were losing $30-$50 per month because of a leaky toilet that nobody bothered to call about.
When you check toilets, take the lid off and inspect the fill valves along with the flapper. If they look old and corroded, you may be better off replacing them preemptively rather than waiting for it to fail. The combination of fill valve and flapper is about $15 at a hardware store.
4. Doors and Windows
Doors and windows should be checked for any large gaps or cracks that could let unwanted air through. Check the general condition and security of the door and locks. Its your responsibility to ensure that you provide the tenant with a functioning door and lock. Not to mention that it gives them a sense of peace and security knowing that someone can’t just come blow their door down.
5. The Foundation/Structural Integrity
Checking the outside of your home can tell you a lot about the general condition of the building. Maybe you notice a lean that was not there last year, or maybe there’s a large pressure crack in the cement from the frost heaving that’s causing a safety concern. You don’t have to bring a structural engineer on board to do this, just give it a standard look to make sure there is nothing blatantly obvious with the house that needs immediate attention.
6. The Roof
A house roof is an item that is not only expensive to replace, but can also cost a lot of money if not maintained. You don’t need to get on the roof, but check for curling or missing shingles from weather or wind damage. If you do decide to go up on the roof, you might as well take a peek at the gutters to make sure they are free of leaves and debris.
7. Major Appliances
If you supply the main appliances to the home, you want to check on their condition and security.
Check the dryer screen too. This will tell you if the tenant is neglecting to care for the dryer, which can ultimately end up costing you in the long run—like a fire starting from a full lint trap. A simple reminder usually helps with the issue.
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