Rental property inspections are among your many responsibilities as a Massachusetts landlord. What types of inspections should you perform? And when should you perform them? As part of our property management tips, here are some things to keep in mind.
Before a tenant moves in, it’s important to prepare a property condition statement. It should detail any and all current issues with a rental unit. If you are holding a security deposit, the property condition statement can later be used to justify any reductions in deposit for damages caused by a particular tenant. As a landlord, you can prepare this statement. However, you should give tenants a certain number of days (from the beginning of their tenancy) to review and report anything that you may have missed. Tenants should sign this document to indicate that they agree with the list. As an added level of protection, you may also want to include photos of the condition of the unit prior to the tenant’s occupancy.
Routine Annual Inspections
For tenants whose occupancy exceeds one calendar year, it’s a good idea to perform quick annual rental property inspections. This allows you to identify any potential issues that tenants may fail to notice or neglect to report. Don’t assume that because a tenant is in good standing and doesn’t make a fuss, that everything is perfectly okay.
Tenants may not notice signs of problems until the damage becomes extensive. For instance, there may be light staining on ceilings from ice dams. Unless the damage is so severe that water starts dripping from the ceiling, tenants may not even realize there’s a problem.
Annual inspections will also provide insight on how tenants are caring for your properties. If you have a tenant who is punching holes in walls, having unauthorized pets, or otherwise damaging your property, it’s beneficial to know this sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you might be in for a big surprise years later when a tenant finally leaves and you’re left with repairs far beyond what their security deposit covers.
When a tenant moves out, be sure to schedule a final walk-thru with them. Have photos from the previous inspection on-hand and discuss any new damages to the rental property. By completing this process with a tenant, it avoids any claims that damages were not present when they vacated the premises. Pictures should also be taken on that date to document the unit’s condition immediately after the tenant moved out.
Summary of Rental Property Inspections
Performing rental property inspections at the correct time and on a routine basis is critical to preserving your property value. It’s a given that inspections should be performed before and after a tenant’s occupancy, but routine annual inspections are also advised. These are responsibilities that Massachusetts property management companies can complete for you as part of their services. Contact us for a free quote!