You've got a tenant in place, they are paying rent, and everything seems to be going well. But now what? Being a housing provider is more than just collecting the rent. Your rental is an asset and part of managing that asset is making sure that it stays in good shape. Another concern is around maintenance, although this is true in apartments, it's even more true in single family homes: maintenance is an on-going project. There is always something to do! The best way to address maintenance concerns before they become a crisis is through regular inspections. RHAWA recommends that you inspect your rentals every 6 months at a minimum. It might seem tedious to take the time to do an inspection but it is an important part of your rental business. Regular inspections can and will save you money!
To conduct an inspection you should give notice to your tenants ahead of time. When 48 hours in the minimum, letting them know during the month when inspections will be taking place is usually best. During an inspection you will want to take good notes and possibly pictures of concerns that need to be addressed. When some things in the unit might be tenant caused (and billable) some times might also be normal wear and tear and are the landlord's responsibility.
What should be looking for during your inspection?
Things to look for during a regular inspection:
During this part of the inspection, look over doors, windows, gutters, and landscaping. Is it in good shape? Does any of it need attention?
Smoke and CO 2 Detectors
Especially in multi-family, but also in single family rentals, making sure that all smoke and CO2 detectors are working properly and have batteries is essential. These are life saving devices in the case of a fire and having them in good repair is essential for both the safety of your tenants and your insurance company.
While many landlords leave the furnace filter to their tenants, it's always a good idea to make sure that it has been changed. The furnace will last longer and your tenants will thank you for the improved air quality in your rental.
Here in Western Washington, moisture is a constant battle and making sure that any moisture and mold problems are being addressed in advance is crucial. Mold mitigation can be expensive. Often the solution is remind your tenants to ventilate bathrooms and interior spaces to reduce the chances of any mold growth.
It's a good idea to open cabinets and see if there is any evidence of leaky water service or outflow pipes. You can also inspect toilets to make sure that any leaks or problems can be addressed before it becomes an emergency at 2 A.M.
This includes carpet, moldings, walls, doors, bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, kitchen counters, and other flooring. Just make sure that there isn't cosmetic damage happening around the unit and note down things that need to be repaired or fixed.
Performing regular and thorough inspections is a vital part of the business. It will reduce your maintenance costs and give you a chance to talk with your tenants. It's also an important way to decide if your tenants are treating your property well which will help you make a good decision when it comes time to renew their lease.