Your Fort Worth rental property needs to be inspected thoroughly and regularly. Not only do inspections help you document the condition of your home; they also help you ensure your tenant is following the terms of your lease agreement. Make sure you’re taking a look at your property at least three times during a tenancy; at the beginning, at the end, and once while the tenant is in place.
Don’t overwhelm your tenants with frequent and disruptive visits. Let them enjoy their privacy and their environment. Once a year is a good rule to follow unless there are reasons that you feel you should get inside more frequently.
Move-In Rental Property Inspections
Before your tenants move into the property, you’ll need to do a complete inspection that includes photographs, detailed notes, checklists, and even videos. You want to make sure you can accurately create a record of what the home looks like before your tenants establish residency.
You’ll also want to make sure there aren’t things that need to be repaired and replaced. Everything should be fully functional. Turn on all the faucets and check all of the outlets. Make sure the toilets flush and the sinks drain and the appliances work. If you find something wrong, schedule the work immediately.
Move-Out Rental Property Inspections
The move-out inspection is equally as important. You need to be just as detailed as you were during the move-in inspection, and you need to note any differences in the condition of the property. Wear and tear issues such as small nail holes in the walls or scuff marks from where a sofa was resting are not anything you can charge your tenant for. However, if you notice that something is broken that wasn’t broken before the tenancy, or there’s obvious damage to floors, walls, and appliances, you can charge the security deposit for the repair of those items.
Documentation is again critical. Take pictures and videos so you can clearly demonstrate what has been damaged from abuse, neglect, or misuse. This type of evidence will prevent your tenants from trying to dispute any security deposit charges.
Mid-Tenancy Property Inspections
While you’re signing the lease, let your tenants know that you’ll be inspecting the property at least once during the term of the tenancy. This will eliminate any surprises when you do schedule an inspection, and it will let them know that you care about the condition and maintenance of your investment.
Send them a letter or an email to coordinate a date and time that you’ll arrive for your inspection. You want to give them enough advance notice. You should let the tenants decide whether they want to be present. It might be easier for you to inspect without them there, but if they are at the home, you’ll also have the opportunity to talk and find out if they’re happy and if there’s anything they need to have a better rental experience. They’ll appreciate your attention, and you’ll have a better chance of a lease renewal at the end of the lease term.
Check for maintenance issues that have not been reported. Look for evidence of water or leaks, and make sure the roof, windows, insulation, and landscaping are in good shape. Check for any potential lease violations. If you see dog food and cat beds when the tenants moved in without pets, you’ll need to address that. If they are responsible for lawn maintenance but the grass is overgrown and weeds are taking over the front shrubs, discuss some solutions.
These are the three most important inspections any Fort Worth landlord can do. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at McCaw Property Management.