Rental Property Inspections – Why and How

Investment in rental property in the greater Omaha area can offer significant financial and other business benefits to individuals, families, corporations, REITs, or other entities. However, like any investment, there are also risks involved.  Among the most common risks are unexpected costs related to property damage, maintenance, and repairs. Utilizing a professional Certified Inspector can help landlords save time, protect their investment, ensure tenant satisfaction, and maintain a safe and habitable living environment for tenants.

Among the benefits of professional rental property inspections, are:

  1. Maintaining Property Condition:
    • Regular inspections help landlords ensure that the property is being well-maintained and kept in good condition by tenants.
    • Identifying and addressing maintenance issues promptly can prevent small problems from escalating into larger, more costly repairs.
  2. Preventing Property Damage:
    • Inspections provide an opportunity to identify any potential hazards or risks that could lead to property damage if left unattended.
    • Identifying and addressing issues such as leaks, mold, pests, or structural damage early on can help prevent further damage and preserve the value of the property.
  3. Ensuring Compliance:
    • Inspections allow landlords to verify that tenants are complying with the terms of the lease agreement, including maintenance responsibilities and rules regarding property use.
    • Landlords can ensure that tenants are not causing excessive wear and tear or engaging in activities that could violate the lease terms or local regulations.
  4. Promoting Tenant Satisfaction:
    • Regular inspections demonstrate to tenants that the landlord cares about the condition of the property and their well-being.
    • Promptly addressing maintenance issues identified during inspections can contribute to tenant satisfaction and retention.
    • A satisfied tenant is more likely to do their part to contribute to the maintenance and care of the property.
  5. Detecting Safety Hazards:
    • Inspections help identify safety hazards such as faulty electrical wiring, tripping hazards, or non-functional smoke detectors.
    • Addressing these hazards promptly can help prevent accidents and injuries on the property.
  6. Reducing Liability Risks:
    • By proactively identifying and addressing maintenance issues and safety hazards, landlords can reduce their liability risks associated with injuries or property damage on the premises.
    • Demonstrating diligence in property maintenance through regular inspections can help mitigate legal risks in the event of disputes or litigation.
  7. Facilitating Communication:
    • Inspections provide an opportunity for landlords and tenants to communicate openly about any concerns or issues related to the property.
    • Establishing clear lines of communication during inspections can help build trust and foster positive landlord-tenant relationships.
  8. Planning for Maintenance and Upgrades:
    • Inspections allow landlords to assess the overall condition of the property and plan for future maintenance and upgrades.
    • By identifying areas that may require attention in the future, landlords can budget accordingly and proactively address maintenance needs.

Implementing a rental property inspection program can positively contribute to its benefits and success. Here are some recommendations regarding starting a formal process:

  1. Hiring the right professional inspector:
    • Verify the qualifications and certifications of a professional inspector to confirm their process meets industry standard practices.
    • Verify that the inspector is properly and adequately insured.
    • Check references, reviews, and the BBB for information about their past work history and customer satisfaction.
  2. Frequency of Inspections:
    • Conduct regular inspections according to the terms outlined in the lease agreement. Typically, inspections are conducted every 6 to 12 months, but this can vary depending on local regulations and landlord preferences.
    • Additionally, inspections may be scheduled in between tenants or in response to specific maintenance requests or concerns.
  3. Notify Tenants:
    • Provide tenants with advance notice of the inspection as required by local laws and outlined in the lease agreement. Typically, 24 to 48 hours’ notice is customary.
    • Clearly communicate the date and time of the inspection to tenants and try to accommodate their schedules whenever possible.
  4. Inspection Checklist:
    • Confirm that your professional inspector has a standard process and checklist of areas and items to inspect, such as:
      • General condition of the property, including walls, floors, ceilings, and fixtures.
      • Appliances (if furnished) to ensure they are in working order.
      • Plumbing fixtures and pipes for leaks or damage.
      • HVAC systems for proper functioning.
      • Electrical outlets, switches, and lighting.
      • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
      • Exterior areas including landscaping, walkways, and parking areas.
  5. Documentation of Findings:
    • A professional inspector will take detailed notes and photographs of conditions, issues, and concerns identified during the inspection.
    • The inspection report should provide recommendations regarding maintenance or repairs needed and prioritize them based on urgency.
    • Plan to retain documentation of past inspections and maintenance history for each rental unit for future reference.
  6. Addressing Issues:
    • After the inspection, communicate findings with the tenants. Discuss any necessary repairs or maintenance and establish a timeline for completion.
    • Ensure that urgent repairs are addressed promptly to maintain the safety and habitability of the property.
    • Provide tenants with information on how to report maintenance issues between inspections.
  7. Follow-Up Inspections:
    • Schedule follow-up inspections as needed to verify that repairs have been completed satisfactorily.
    • Use these opportunities to assess the overall condition of the property and identify any recurring issues that may require attention.
  8. Legal Compliance:
    • Familiarize yourself with local landlord-tenant laws and regulations regarding property inspections, including notice requirements and tenant rights.
    • Ensure that inspections are conducted in a non-intrusive manner and respect tenants’ privacy rights.

Regular property inspections are crucial for maintaining the condition of rental properties, fostering positive landlord-tenant relationships, and ensuring compliance with legal obligations. By staying proactive and addressing maintenance issues promptly, you can help protect your investment and provide a safe and comfortable living environment for your tenants.

As a CCPIA Certified Professional Inspector, Acuity Property Inspections can help landlords and property managers with a dependable, consistent, and comprehensive process that helps them make informed decisions about their property. Contact us today to learn more!

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