Being a landlord isn’t as easy as people might think it is. It is not like all you do is walk around collected rent payments the first few days of the week and then just enjoy yourself for the rest of the month. A landlord has responsibilities, not only towards their tenants but towards their property as well.
One of the landlord’s responsibilities is making sure all of their properties are in perfect order. How do they do that? Well, there is a lot that goes into it, but the first step is always inspection of the property. A landlord should always have a clear insight into the state of their property, so they can prevent problems from happening or solve minor existing ones.
However, how do you, as a landlord, conduct these inspections without being a pain for your current tenants? How often is too often, and should you do it monthly? Well, it’s hard to tell how often you should inspect a property, but let’s try and work it out for ourselves.
What’s The Purpose Of The Inspection?
There is a fine line between being a responsible landlord and an annoying one. The tenants occupying your property probably don’t really want to spend time with you and are more than happy to just give you the rent and forget about you until the next month. Some would even argue that this is the ideal landlord-tenant relationship. We wouldn’t.
A landlord should inspect a property every once in a while, but there are specific rules they have to follow. Otherwise, it would be easy to slip from that fine line you’ve been walking and end up as an annoying landlord.
When it comes to inspections, the first thing you should consider is why you’re there. What is the purpose of the inspection? Are you inspecting a property before you have someone else move in, or is it because the current tenants are leaving the place? Also, an inspection could also just be for regular maintenance and safety, such as a routine home inspection regarding the safety or the state of the property.
If it is one of those, you, as a landlord, have all the right in the world to pop by the property and do what has to be done. However, you can’t just “pop by” unannounced…
You Need To Announce Yourself
As we’ve said in the beginning, most of your tenants don’t really care for spending time with you and are usually not your friends, and even if they were – you should never come to the property without adequately announcing yourself.
It doesn’t matter how good of a relationship you have with your tenants or how long they’ve been occupying your property. Common courtesy dictates that you should always announce yourself when visiting something or someone. Now, as to how early should you announce your arrival, that’s kind of up to you.
We wouldn’t suggest doing it a week in advance. Even though it might sound like a good thing to do, letting someone know you’re going to be visiting in a week isn’t the smartest thing to do. More often than not, if you do it that early, the other party will most likely forget that you’re about to come by for an inspection. That means they could easily be out once you arrive, and even though you own a property, you can’t just walk inside.
All in all, as a general rule of thumb, you’d want to announce yourself a day or two before thinking about stopping by.
Should You Do It Yourself?
Another thing to think about is whether you should be the one that’s inspecting a property or should you hire someone else. Well, according to house-inspections.com.au, although you can probably do a pretty good job inspecting the property, you might be better off leaving it to someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.
You could have a professional house and building inspector swing by and do the inspection instead of you. Their trained eye will probably be able to spot the things you might not be able to, even if you know where to look. They could easily identify the potentially problematic spots and inform you of what needs to be repaired to avoid future damages.
On the other hand, if you do know what you’re doing, then there’s no need for hiring anyone. Whether you want to hire someone or not is entirely up to you. For instance, if you have many properties, it’s probably best not to do it all alone. It would just take up too much of your time to personally inspect all the properties. However, if you only have one apartment that you’re renting out – you should have no problems doing it all by yourself.
How Often Should You Do It?
Mutual respect and understanding are vital in these situations. A tenant does not have the right to refuse the landlord the entry, nor can they change locks or alter the property in any other way that would prevent a landlord from accessing it. The only way a tenant can change locks or do something similar is if they talk discuss the changes with the landlord beforehand.
However, this works both ways. A landlord is obligated by law to provide their tenant with a right to privacy and quiet enjoyment of the home. If you can’t do that, well, you shouldn’t be a landlord. But, what does this all mean when it comes to how often you should inspect a property?
Well, as a general rule of thumb, a quarterly inspection should be more than sufficient. Naturally, this implies that you don’t change tenants during the year. If you’ve been renting the place to the same person for over a year, popping by for a regular inspection once every three months should do it. Of course, you’ll want to announce yourself beforehand, as we’ve discussed earlier.
On the other hand, if you’re switching between tenants, an inspection before a tenant moves in, or moves out, should be at the top of your list of priorities. That way, you’ll have a clear idea of the state of the property and what needs to be done about it.
There you have it. Hopefully, this mini guideline was helpful enough, and you now know how often you should inspect a rental property.