15 Jan What to expect when inspecting! Home Inspections 2.0
Most professional property managers have been in this situation. The phone rings: “Hi, it’s Bart. The owner of 123 Main St. I will be in town on Saturday, February 25 and would love to see my rental property you currently manage. Can you please advise the tenants and meet me there?” It’s a very common request every property manager will have at one point. There is nothing wrong with that request but it does require a brief discussion with your landlord to set expectations for that inspection and avoid reactions such as “that is not the way the house looked when I moved out”. Landlords and property owners need to be realistic when inspecting one of their rental homes during an active tenancy.
Tenants have a right to live in a semi messy environment, even a dusty one…yes, I said DUST is ok, at least according to most leases found in Northern Virginia and as long as that mess or dust does not create a harmful environment for tenants or the house itself. Of course the level of mess and dust is essentially in the eye of the beholder and the Lease Agreement should advise what might or might not be a violation in regards to these items. Dirty clothes, dishes piled up in the kitchen sink, unfinished laundry, these are all items that usually do not violate any lease terms as unsightly as they might be.
Rather than concentrate on how they live, a landlord and his property manager should identify deficiencies that actually are lease violations; non-working appliances due to tenant negligence, over-grown yards (most leases make that a tenant responsibility), dirty air filters or any other discrepancies that are violations based on the actual lease terms. Once those items are discovered and recorded with written reports and photos, they need to be presented to the tenant and a time-frame should be given to correct such violations. A follow-up inspection is highly recommended and an updated report should be provided to both tenant and landlord.
Don’t be afraid to inspect a rental property with the landlord, rather, be upfront about expecations, make sure the home owner knows the lease and is aware of what does and does not constitute a violation and advise tenants that a nice, clean house goes a long way with property owners. Bart, our owner, ended up being very satisfied with the condition of his home and knowing upfront what to expect, made this inspection a very pleasant experience for him and his tenant..and made for a great Saturday morning being his property manager!