Rental Inspection Checklist: Tips to Maintain Your Property

March 16th, 2021
Rental Inspection Checklist: Tips to Maintain Your Property

Rental inspections should be a routine aspect of any property maintenance schedule to protect you, your tenants, and your property. Keeping an eye on your property and using rental inspection checklists helps you keep track of its condition to avoid surprise expenses and maintain a comfortable rental for your tenants.

What is a Rental Inspection?

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These detailed walk-throughs allow an owner to take note of a property’s condition, including wear and tear, repairs, and even the cleanliness of the unit. This helps prevent surprise expenses and maintains the property’s condition.

Most landlords inspect their property before and after the renter moves in at least to update their rent roll sheet. Of course, if your tenants are living in your property for an extended period of time, it’s also a good idea to complete a walk-through at least once a year to make any necessary repairs and possible pet damage.

Why Are Rental Inspections Important?

Rental inspections are a great way to plan for your property upgrades — especially if you manage multiple properties. Regular inspections allow you to identify when an appliance may need service or if it’s time to repair the roof before it’s too late so you can appropriately budget for maintenance.

Rental inspections also allow you to make sure your tenants are caring for the property. Documenting the state of your property helps you identify damage caused by the tenant that they’re ultimately responsible for replacing. These inspections are just as beneficial for the tenant to identify concerns or repairs for you to address to ensure the property is comfortably livable. Ultimately, rental inspections protect both party’s investments and best interests.

How to Conduct a Rental Inspection

How to Conduct a

Rental Inspection

A baseline rental inspection should review the following:

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Heating and AC

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Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

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Plumbing

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Air filters

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Obvious damage

If it’s time for a rental inspection, then you first want to notify any involved parties. If there are no current tenants, you may tour the property by yourself.

If a tenant is currently renting the property, you should be sure to notify them well in advance so they’re aware you’re coming. It’s a good idea to invite them to tour with you so you can discuss any necessary repairs or damage as you identify them.

While touring the rental, be sure to thoroughly check the inside and outside of the property. Things like poor drainage, broken window locks, or driveway cracks are all easy to miss details you’ll want to catch. Prepare a checklist ahead of time or view this one to make sure you get a good look at everything.

Once the rental inspection is complete, you’ll want to file any notes you took and share them with everyone who toured. If there are any major repairs to be made immediately, it’s time to schedule those services. Otherwise, make a note of repairs you anticipate in the future and schedule those to be made sooner rather than later.

What to Include in Your Rental Inspection Checklist

Mock up of rental inspection checklist with a table and grid

Your rental inspection checklist should include every inch of your property, from bathtub drainage to a dying shrub in your landscaping. While these issues may not need immediate attention, keeping up with your property changes is the best way to identify upcoming problems and track your property’s condition. Here are some key things you should be looking for:

  • Damage to walls, flooring, or baseboards
  • Condition of appliances and needed repairs
  • Security including functional window and door locks
  • General cleanliness of the property

Move-In Rental Inspection

The move-in inspection is an important step in protecting you and your tenant from surprise and costly repairs. These are likely scheduled after a lease is signed, but may also be part of the prospecting process. Touring the property together allows you to identify damages and get them taken care of before the move-in date. It’s a great way to set a positive tone for your relationship and cover maintenance expectations for your property.

Once you’ve both toured the property and made notes of any concerns, everyone involved should sign the checklist and receive a copy of all noted damages prior to move-in. If you’re completing any repairs, make sure you note the date these are completed and confirm with your tenant.

Move-Out Rental Inspection

The move out inspection is another chance for you and your tenant(s) to tour the property together and evaluate any new damages. You should bring a copy of your move-in inspection to compare and identify what damages your tenant may be responsible for.

It’s a good idea to complete this inspection before the lease is officially up to give your tenant the opportunity to mend any concerns you have after your inspection. Of course, you can retain money from their security deposit to make any repairs left after your tenant has moved out. While some damages may be normal wear and tear, comparing your move out checklist with your move-in notes and any other inspections you’ve completed will help avoid any potential disputes.

Routine Rental Inspections

In addition to the inspections before and after and the tenant moves in, you’ll want to check in every so often to make sure the property is in good shape. A routine inspection every three to six months is a good way to make sure your tenant is caring for your property as well as check-in on seasonal maintenance needs. Make sure you notify your tenant ahead of time and invite them to join you if they’d like.

These inspections aren’t as thorough as the others, but they’re just as important for the upkeep of your property. It’s still a good idea to bring your previous checklists to compare for new damage or check on previous repairs.

Drive-By Inspections

Many owners and property managers like to swing by their rentals to do a quick check-in on their property from the outside. These aren’t nearly as thorough as the other inspections, but help you get a good idea of how your rental is being cared for. You’ll want to check how the yard is being cared for, that the siding and roofing look good, and that walkways and porches are neat and clear.

Rental inspections are an important part of your property maintenance schedule, and tracking needed repairs and upgrades can save you time and money. Communicate regularly with your renters and make sure you keep a good record of your property’s condition inside and out so as not to turn into an eviction.

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