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What Is a Rental Property Inspection?
In broad terms, a rental property inspection is a chance for you to physically inspect the condition of the interior and exterior of your property, and are typically performed:
In response to some specific event:
Pest inspections or inspections performed before a tenant moves in and out are typical examples of this sort of inspection.
Routinely over the term of a lease
These types of inspections aren't intended to hold anyone liable for anything you find; they're simply a chance to identify issues before they get worse and take corrective action.
Inspections are essential to perform because they allow you to verify the condition of your property yourself rather than relying on the word of others. An inspection will enable you to establish a baseline about the state of the property so that you can compare it against your next inspection. Finally, an inspection will give you the chance to search for hidden issues that neither you nor your tenants may have noticed in the past. We'll talk a little bit about a few common types of inspections next.
You should perform move-in inspections during the tenant move-in process—before you've handed over the keys. Many landlords will use a move-in checklist to document pre-existing issues and have the tenant sign and date the form, and it's a common practice to take photos of existing damage. However, we take this a step further! While the checklist is a great starting point, that won’t cut it with Green River PM standards! 360 degree inspections allow us to establish what issues may already be present at tenant moved in and ensures they're protected from inherited problems with the property. Some landlords will hand off the move-in checklist and leave it up to their tenants to document, but this isn't a good idea; inexperienced tenants may not know enough to look deeper than cosmetic damage. Remember, as a Jacksonville area landlord, you're required to abide by Florida law regarding move-in inspections; the law mandates that you "reasonably" inspect the condition of the property before transferring it, so don't neglect this step. Better yet, let the professionals handle this one!
A move-out inspection is similar to a move-in inspection; it's a chance for you to take a look at the condition of the property when a tenant is done with their lease and prepared to move out. You'll want to duplicate the inspection you performed before move-in so that you can get a good comparison of any issues. Be sure to schedule this type of inspection at the right time:
- If you inspect too early, you may miss damage that tenants cause as they move out.
- If you schedule it too late, tenants may be able to claim that they have vacated the property and the damage may have occurred outside of the terms of their lease.
Ideally, you'll perform a move-out inspection on the day your tenants vacate your property (or the day immediately after if you've given something like a midnight deadline).
Pest issues can be a bit of a tricky subject; Florida law has a few things to say about it. Generally, unless you are renting a single-family home or duplex, a landlord is required to deal with certain types of pests unless otherwise agreed in writing. The list is relatively small, but it includes:
- Rats and mice
- Ants and wood-destroying organisms
Generally, this sort of inspection requires some amount of expertise to do effectively, and it's a good idea to outsource it to a pest control professional—especially where the application of any chemicals is concerned. Need help? We’ve got you covered!
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