As a landlord in Houston, you’ve put your trust in the tenant you have allowed to live in your property. If you’ve heard horror stories from other landlords’ troubles with terrible tenants, you may be wary of letting a stranger live in the property.
While most tenants do take care of the rental they leased, especially because they gave a security deposit, there are some cases that leave landlords in dismay.
Fortunately, there is a remedy to keep tenants from causing major damage to your property. This remedy is a routine property inspection.
By the end of this article, you’ll know what a routine property inspection is, how often to perform them, why they’re important, and how to conduct one successfully.
What is a Routine Property Inspection?
You may be familiar with a move-in and move-out inspection of a rental property, but do you know about routine property inspections?
These inspections are performed every three to six months and usually take place while the tenant is home. It allows the landlord to check for any damage and stay updated on the condition of the property.
Not only does it give landlords an opportunity to check for damages, but tenants can also make requests and point out issues with the property.
Who Conducts the Inspection?
The landlord or property manager can conduct a routine property inspection in Houston. Basically, whoever is responsible for maintaining and managing the property should be the one to perform the inspection.
Why Perform Routine Property Inspections?
Landlords often invest in rental properties to create a passive stream of income. So, you’re probably wondering why you would spend even more time on your investment to hold routine property inspections.
Well, there are plenty of benefits that come along with this small sacrifice of time. Below, we’ll discuss the top benefits and how they can help you save money and become a better landlord overall.
1. Improve Landlord-Tenant Relationship
How often do you actually get to talk to your tenants and get to know them? Probably not very often unless they have a lot of maintenance requests that bring you to the property to repair.
When you conduct routine maintenance inspections, it gives you the opportunity to connect with your tenants and enjoy some small talk. This can serve as a small reminder that your tenants are people and not just a check each month.
And vice versa! When tenants see their landlord as a person and not just someone who wants to collect their check, they’re more likely to care for the property and pay rent on time.
2. Sense of Accountability
When your tenants know that you’re coming to inspect the property every few months, they’re more likely to take care of it. They don’t want to deal with a landlord’s reaction if they damage something or keep the house a mess.
So, routine maintenance inspections can help keep your property well-maintained and damage-free, saving you money and time on repairs.
3. Keep Up with Maintenance
If you don’t visit your Houston rental property for an entire year, you have no idea what condition it is in. Unless your tenants call with a maintenance request, you’re in the dark about what is going on with it.
Conducting a routine property inspection allows you to see if there are any issues that haven’t been brought to your attention. It could be something small that your tenants didn’t feel the need to bother you about.
This is also the perfect time to change smoke detector batteries, lightbulbs, or other routine maintenance tasks.
4. Examine the Exterior and the Yard
When your property has a yard attached to it, you may decide to leave the maintenance to your tenant or hire a landscaping service. Either way, it’s important to see if this maintenance is upheld to your standards.
If you’re disappointed with the state of the exterior, you can have a conversation with your tenant or landscaper. In the case of your tenant, you can teach them how to properly maintain the yard and exterior.
5. Lease Violations
The last thing you want to think about is a lease violation. You may feel that as long as you’re getting a rent check each month, what you don’t know won’t hurt you. However, if you let violations slide, you’re basically allowing the tenant to break your agreement.
Whether you find an unapproved subletter, pets, or illegal activity in your property, you want to talk to your tenant about it. A lease violation doesn’t always have to result in an eviction, but make sure to stand your ground as a landlord.
6. Check for Damages
We already mentioned you should look for things that haven’t been well-maintained in your property, but you should also check for damages. Even if your tenant gave you a security deposit when they moved in, you should make an effort to look for damages.
During a routine property inspection, you can let your tenant know that specific damages will come out of their security deposit unless they fix it at their own expense before they move out. Many tenants will appreciate the opportunity to do it themselves rather than sacrifice their deposit.
How to Successfully Inspect a Rental Property
Before you conduct the routine property inspection, give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice. If you want them to be there during the inspection, make sure to schedule a time that works for both of you.
Come to the property prepared with a checklist of items to inspect and your phone to take photos or other documentation you may need concerning the security deposit or eviction if necessary.
Remember to stay calm and professional if you see major damage to the property. Problems often are not resolved when one or both parties get agitated and angry.
Property Inspections Without Going to the Property
You’re a busy person with a rental property in Houston to give you some extra income. You don’t have time to conduct routine property inspections – even if they are extremely important.
Now you can conduct these inspections without ever stepping foot in your Houston rental property. When you work with Residential Leasing & Management Corp., you can trust real estate professionals to inspect your property for you.
Not only will we inspect the property on a regular basis, but we’ll also handle the security deposits when tenants move in and any maintenance or repairs that must be done. Just imagine, your property will always be in tiptop shape without you ever having to spend time inspecting it.
Contact us to see how we can help you manage your Houston rental property today!