Have you ever conducted an inspection of your Utah rental property after the tenant has moved out and you find that the property has been trashed? There is thousands of dollars worth of damage and the security deposit will not cover all of it. You would like to collect the money from the tenant, but you don’t want to go to court. Furthermore, do you have documentation showing the condition of the property before the tenant moved in? As you can imagine, this situation can be an absolute nightmare. If you have never experienced this, consider yourself lucky.
Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming more and more common, but can be prevented by conducting regular inspections of your property. I realize that conducting inspections can be time consuming, but taking steps to prevent damage is essential to your success as a rental property owner. Your rental property is an investment and you really need to do everything you can to protect this investment.
So, how should you perform an inspection and how often should you do it? Many owners and property management companies consider “driving by the property” an inspection, but this just isn’t going to cut it. A thorough inspection should consist of a complete walk-through of the property, taking pictures along the way to document the condition. Take your time, and be thorough when examining the property, because evidence is what plays in court.
With regards to how often you should inspect your rental property, I believe that this should be completed as often as you can. As a rule of thumb, I will always inspect my property when the following occur:
- Move-In: I will conduct an in-depth inspection report with photos before the tenant moves into the property. I will give the tenant a copy of the report to view, and once they agree, I have him/her sign it.
- Maintenance Visits: Each time I receive a maintenance request, I use this as an opportunity to walk through the entire property to ensure that nothing has been damaged and that the terms of the lease are being followed.
- Law Enforcement is called to the Property: Obviously if the police are being called to your property, there is a reason. I use this as an opportunity to make sure that there is nothing illegal that is happening at my property and that all terms of the lease are being followed.
- Quarterly: I will conduct an inspection randomly throughout the quarter and will provide the tenants as little notice as possible. I do this to make sure that if the terms of the lease are not being followed, they will not have a lot of time to hide this from me. It also gives me an opportunity to assess if any damage has occurred and how to resolve it with the tenants.
- Move-Out: I will conduct an in-depth inspection at the time of move-out and compare with the inspection I performed at the time of move-in. This is a great way to determine any damage that has occurred during the life of the lease agreement.
Spending the necessary time to conduct thorough inspections on a regular basis can be a great way to minimize the risk of your property being damaged by a tenant. If you have questions on how and when inspections should be performed or if you are considering hiring a property management company, please contact us today. Start by downloading our free owner information packet.