Lease compliance applies also to pets. This means if we find a hamster, pet bird, fish, dog or cat in a “no pets” policy house we have a breach of the lease. The same thing holds true if the property pet policy was acceptance of one dog and now we have two dogs or 1 dog and a cat. On a side note, the law makes a distinction between “pets” and “service animals.” Your Manager needs to help you understand the difference as service animals are not considered “pets.”
Besides lease compliance, a good Property Manager should have language in their Property Management Agreement that gives the Manager some small amount of spending authority to process repairs that are needed to “preserve, maintain, and protect” the property. While a manager “inspection” is not really the same thing as a home inspection completed by a licensed home inspector, the Property Manager walking through the property should try to collect a punch list of small repair items.
In short, the purpose of the Manager visiting properties is to perform basic lease compliance checks as well as a visual observation of areas that may require some routine maintenance not reported by the tenant.
So, back to the question of how many times in one year should there be a check on your rental property. It appears there are as many opinions on this question in our Raleigh-Cary, NC market as there are managers! After having completed well over 600 property inspections in the past few years, this is what we have learned:
- High application fees are a tenant disincentive to act honestly during the application process. Look for a manager who charges reasonable application fees.
- Wait at least 60-90 days before conducting the first inspection. Residents tend to settle in by this point.
- Verify that the property visit includes an interior survey of the house rather than just a drive-by.
- Ask the Manager for a written and dated report.
- Consider collecting extra business cards from the management company to share with your neighbors so that they can call the Manager if they see suspicious activity.
- Consider the tenant turn-over cost of completing intrusive inspections every 90 days. Tenants that feel like they have lost the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the property will not renew their lease.
- Consider opting for a “lease-renewal survey.” This is a survey that is completed about 90 days before the end of lease. The purpose is to verify property condition before offering a new lease term.