Have you ever arrived at a rental property after a tenant moved and discovered some unwanted surprises? Whether the kitchen sink is backed up and overflowing on the floor or you realize most of the house has been used to hoard cats, these kinds of surprises are more common (and costly) than you think. 

Today our Palm Island, Florida property management experts talk about how property owners can help prevent "surprises" that can affect your bottom line. Without keeping an eye on your properties throughout the year, you're at risk of discovering something that requires extensive and expensive repairs before you can rent the property again! Keep reading to learn why routine property inspections are critical to maintaining ROI and improving rental income. 

What Are the Wrong Kinds of Surprises?

We already mentioned a few, but there are plenty of things that can go wrong in your property while renters neglect to tell you about them. The right property management company can help you screen and place high-quality renters. Still, owners should never trust a "good" resident to keep a property in move-in condition without routinely checking on the rental unit. 

What are some of these surprises?  It can vary greatly depending on the property in question. Some examples include: 

  • Vacancies due to non-working appliances 
  • Damages via pet policy infractions
  • Severe carpet stains (or holes)
  • Significant holes in the wall
  • Water-damaged flooring from a leak your residents never reported
  • Overgrown lawns and landscaping

If you or your property manager don't see your rental unit at all during the year, you're at risk of discovering these types of issues after renters move out. Even when property owners keep the security deposit to put toward repair costs, significant property damage often exceeds most security deposit amounts. 

Flooded interior (R) (S)

Routine Rental Property Inspections Prevent Surprises

While you can't prevent every bad thing from happening to your rental properties, routine inspections can help you catch problems before they become worse and improve returns.  

The right Palm Island property management company will help you schedule time to inspect each property throughout the year. When a rental property owner arrives, they should look for potential problems around every corner. This isn't just about finding damaged paint or ripped carpet. It's also about inspecting property fixtures and checking every element to look for potential problems you can fix before they become disastrous. 

For example, property managers have a process to check the following areas for potential problems: 

  • Kitchen appliances
  • Bathroom vanities and mirrors
  • Light switches and electrical outlets
  • Floors, walls, baseboards, etc.

When property owners keep an eye out for these things during routine property inspections, they're less likely to encounter major issues down the road. If you aren't sure how to inspect your properties regularly or what to look for first, reach out to a Palm Island property management company for more tips!   

Property Owners Should Work With Renters to Schedule Inspections

Before you arrive for an inspection (and risk violating tenant privacy laws), be sure to schedule it with your residents. Rental property owners must be careful to abide by landlord entry laws and tenant privacy laws during an active lease term. 

One good way to let residents know that inspections occur during the lease term is to document it in the lease agreement. Property managers recommend conducting:

  • A move-in inspection to document the condition of a rental unit at the start of a new lease
  • A mid-lease inspection 3-6 months into a current lease term
  • A move-out inspection when tenants vacate the property

For the mid-lease inspection, outline the approximate timing of this inspection in the lease. When it's time for the inspection, give residents at least 24-hours notice that you'll be on the property to conduct the inspection. 

Before arriving at the property, check the rent roll to know if the renter is up to date on their rental payments. Check the history of maintenance requests and repairs for the rental unit, as well. Finally, bring a checklist and the move-in inspection report to document any changes to the condition of various areas throughout the propertyinside and out. 

Contractor going through a home inspection (R) (S)

Tenants Learn from Inspections, Too

Utilizing mid-lease inspections gives real estate investors an opportunity to check the condition of a property and confirm that residents are following the lease rules. If you find lease violations during your property visit, address them with your residents and remind them of the penalties for failing to follow the rules. 

Tenants also learn from your careful review and care of their rental home. When they see that you take excellent care of the property to ensure they have a safe and comfortable place to live, renters are more likely to abide by the lease and take good care of your rental unit, too. 

Full-Service Property Management and Routine Inspections Improve ROI 

Work with a property management company to set a schedule of inspections and keep your real estate investments in excellent condition for a better return on investment! If you're in the Palm Island, FL area, Gulf Coast Property Management can help. We have a system in place to conduct routine inspections, log potential issues, perform timely repairs, and hold tenants accountable to care for your property. If you've discovered something unpleasant after a renter moved out, reach out to learn more about our professional property management services!

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