As a landlord in the Greater Jacksonville area, your job is a busy one! There’s a lot that goes into successfully managing your properties. One of the most important things that you’ll need to do is keep up with regular property inspections.
Inspecting your properties puts you in a position to set expectations for your tenants up front and hold them accountable for the state of the property when they move out, even with great tenants. Regardless of your level of experience, you may have some questions about how and when to go about regular property inspections. We’ll provide you with some general guidelines in the paragraphs ahead.
What Exactly IS a Property Inspection?
Property inspections are pretty simple in theory: they’re a chance for landlords or property managers (and ideally the tenant), to go through the property inside and out and get a good sense of the condition of the property. You’ll want to include your tenants in this process for a couple of reasons:
- First of all, it’s a chance to get off on the right foot with your tenants and establish a pattern of cooperation.
- It allows you to set clear expectations for the condition of the property and ensures that your tenants are aware up front of any issues or concerns that arise at the start of their lease.
- Regular inspections will also allow you to catch any necessary maintenance before a tenant moves in so you can keep the property in good shape.
You should perform inspections at least twice: when a tenant moves in and as they move out.
You should conduct a move-in inspection shortly before your tenant’s move-in date. Do this before you’ve turned over the keys to establish a good picture of the condition of the property.
- Use the move-in inspection as a baseline for your move-out inspection down the road.
- Perform this inspection with your tenant to make sure everyone agrees on the condition of the property. This also ensures that your tenants clearly understand how the property should be returned.
- By performing this walk-through with your tenant and getting a signed and dated confirmation of the property's condition, you limit your potential for future liability.
Move-out inspections serve a similar purpose to their move-in counterpart. They’re an opportunity to follow up on the condition of the property as your tenants finish their time there. It’s a good idea to schedule this inspection on move-out day for a couple of reasons:
- If you wait too long to conduct this inspection, your former tenants might claim that any damage they did leave behind occurred after they moved out.
- If you jump on it too early, you’ll end up with a window of time where your tenants can cause damage to the property without a way to catch it (at least until the next time you visit).
When you do a move-out inspection it’s common to find that the condition of the property has deteriorated in some minor ways. This is to be expected, and is commonly known as “normal wear and tear”. This sort of damage results from every-day (but not improper!) use of the property. Sunlight will fade paint over time, you can expect the carpet in a commonly used hallway to wear down, and regular furniture use may scuff hardwood floors slightly. Generally, landlords are obligated to repair this sort of damage. You’ll want to watch for damage that goes above and beyond these criteria: ripped carpet, cigarette burns, holes in the wall, and deep scratches in hardwood are all prime examples.
Let a Property Manager Do the Work
Getting tenants moved in and out of a unit can be a hectic process. In the chaos, inspections can seem like the right place to cut corners. If you’re serious about keeping up with the condition of your property but can’t seem to find the time to make it work, call upon a Jacksonville area property management company to take on the work. A good property manager will do more than inspections! You’ll be able to count on them for a myriad of services that can help you throughout the life cycle of your unit: from marketing and filling properties, screening tenants effectively, collecting rent or even taking care of problem tenants, the right property manager can do it all—even late-night maintenance!
Even with the best of move-in and move-out inspections, much of the wear and tear to your home will depend on your tenants. Do you know to spot the right tenant for YOUR property?