Conducting rental inspections is a key responsibility for landlords. Regularly inspecting your Phoenix rental property can help you ensure your property is well maintained. Additionally, the inspections ensure that small issues are addressed quickly before they become bigger and therefore more costly to repair.
That being said, as a landlord, you have a duty to respect your tenant’s right to privacy. Conducting the inspections too often could lead to potential harassment claims. So, how often should you inspect your Phoenix rental property? This is what today’s blog aims to answer!
When to Inspect the Rental Property
When the Tenant is First Moving in
This is important as you’ll be able to document the property’s initial condition. This way, you’ll be able to determine whether or not the tenant has caused property damage come the end of their lease term.
If they have caused any damages and not fixed them at the time they move out, you’d be able to use part or all of their security deposit to cover the repair costs. However, please note that you can only hold your tenant liable for damage exceeding normal wear and tear. Examples of such damage include the following:
- A missing ceramic tile
- A smashed bathroom mirror
- Carpet ruined by pets
- Damaged door handles
- A missing or broken window
You cannot, however, hold your tenant liable for damage that results from normal wear and tear. That’s because such damage results from the normal ageing process of a home. The following are the examples of such damage:
- Loose door handles
- A faded carpet
- A faded curtain due to sunlight exposure
- Worn away silver finish on bathroom fixtures
- Dirty grout
If You Suspect There is an Unapproved Tenant
As a landlord, you’ve gone into great lengths to ensure your property is only inhabited by quality tenants. As such, it can be quite disheartening to learn that there is an unapproved tenant living in your unit.
There is a certain level of risk associated with having a tenant you haven’t screened living in your unit. These risks can include anything from negligent property damage and policy violations to increased wear and tear, and everything in between. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have a solid lease agreement in place. It should outline rules such as:
- The landlord right to approve or reject a roommate
- All adult tenants must sign the lease agreement
- Illegal subletting is a serious lease violation that could lead to lease termination
When Inspecting Your Unit for Maintenance Issues
It’s always a great idea to keep a keen eye on your property for small maintenance and repair issues. Regular maintenance visits help ensure that you keep your property functioning at its best level. During these inspections, you’ll want to go over everything from the exterior to the interior. You’ll want to check for things such as:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Water heaters
- Filters in the air conditioning unit
- Condition of the roof, gutters and downspouts
- Water damage or leaks
- Condition of the home’s foundation
When the Tenant Misses a Rent Payment
Your tenant may miss a rent payment for a myriad of reasons. If that happens, stop by to find out why. By taking a proactive approach, you may be able to prevent a small issue from escalating into a big one. After all, evictions should be a last resort. Also, finding a new, qualified tenant may not be that easy.
The reasons for nonpayment of rent could be many and varied. Regardless of the reason, though, make sure to handle the situation professionally. Begin by serving the tenant with a proper notice. In most cases, a tenant will pay after this.
But if they don’t, you may want to consider evicting the tenant. Because a delinquent tenant could care less about the property and the lease terms. Consequently, they may end up causing careless or negligent damage to your Phoenix rental property.
During a Drive-by
You may also want to inspect your rental property when driving by the property. This usually helps to inspect the property’s exterior. You may also be able to notice other things out of the ordinary such as:
- Whether or not the tenant is keeping the property clean and sanitary
- Whether or not the tenant is having an unauthorized pet
- If the tenant is illegally subletting the unit
How to Perform a Rental Property Inspection
When scheduling an inspection, the first thing you’ll want to do is review the lease. Does it say anything regarding how often you’ll inspect the property, the notice period you’ll give, and other relevant information?
To avoid potential harassment claims by your tenant, the following are the tips you’ll want to keep in mind when conducting rental inspections:
- Serve the tenant an advance notice. Arizona laws require that a landlord provide their tenant with an advance notice of 48 hours prior to entry.
- Schedule the inspection at normal business hours or as agreed upon with the tenant.
- Only enter the property for the right reasons. Under Arizona state law, landlords may only enter their tenant’s unit pursuant to a court order, to remedy a serious health or safety issue, or to make a needed inspection.
- Document the interior and exterior condition of the property by taking photos. However, you must respect your tenant’s privacy by not photographing their personal items, pets, or children.
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure your property is in top shape at all times. A well-maintained property is one that abides by all state’s health and safety codes, as well as remains appealing to prospective tenants. Having a property that in good condition will also help you keep tenant happy and ensure that they rent long-term.
If you’d like expert help managing your rentals, look to Taylor Street Property Management. We’re a professional property management company in Phoenix, AZ. Our unique range of services are customizable to fit any need you may have. Get in touch with us today!