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How often do you really need to check on properties? Rental Inspection Tips

System - Monday, November 13, 2017

One of the most common questions our potential new property management customers ask is “how often will you do an inspection on my property?” A common misconception is to favor the management company who promises the most inspections for the least amount of money. At face value, this seems to make sense. More is better and cheaper is better. Right?

First, let’s consider the purpose of the Manager making a trip to inspect the property. The primary purpose is lease compliance. What I mean by that is the Manager knows how many people are authorized on the lease. If there is obvious evidence of more adults residing at the property this of course is a concern. This kind of circumstance can happen when applicants try to save money on application fees and hide their intentions of sharing the property with other adults. In other cases, the applicant may know that the credit score or criminal history would result in an application denial of the other adults. 
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. 
I invite you to contact Paramount Realty Solutions with questions about rental inspection tips.

5448 Apex Peakway Suite 331
Apex NC 27502

Phone: 919.794.4772
Fax: 919.930.8951
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM to 5PM
and Saturday & Sunday Closed

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