One of the most important processes that any landlord or property manager should put in place is a firm and clear inspection schedule. Most property managers inspect properties at least twice per year. Self-managing landlords should also conduct periodic interior and exterior inspections throughout the year to document the condition of the property and identify any routine or preventative maintenance that is needed. Most leases allow a landlord or inspector to enter the property for the purposes of inspecting after giving the tenant reasonable notice.
At RPM Direct, we conduct two interior inspections of each property each year. These inspections will occur after the third month and after the ninth month of an annual lease term. In addition, each year, we contract with StopLoss to conduct a state required smoke alarm certification. StopLoss is staffed by off-duty firefighters who will also provide a full fire/safety inspection of the home.
Third Month Inspections – An interior and exterior inspection will be conducted three months after tenants move in. Our inspectors will take approximately 20-30 photos. Photos will capture the kitchen, the main living areas, one or two bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, and the exterior. We are checking to ensure that tenants understand and are complying with all terms of the lease. We are specifically checking for evidence of smoking, unauthorized pets, additional occupants, exterior lawn/shrub maintenance, and any maintenance required by the owner (rotting wood, peeling paint, etc.). Our inspector will also check the smoke detectors, the air filters, hose bibs, and general condition of the property. Tenants will be provided with a 48-hour notice and asked to secure and pets. This inspection is conducted every year after the third month of the lease term.
Ninth Month Inspections - Properties are also inspected 90 days before the end of the annual lease term so that owners can be provided with a condition report to assist with their decision regarding lease renewal. Tenants will be provided with a 48-hour notice that the inspector will be entering the property. If the lease is not being renewed, a separate walk-through by a Realtor will also be conducted in order to plan for the home to be listed for re-rental or sale. This ninth-month inspection is conducted annually, even if the lease term is for longer than one year.
RPM Direct also conducts drive-by inspections throughout the year. These inspections are focused on ensuring that the lawn, shrubs, and exterior of the property are being properly maintained. Tenants are not generally notified of these inspections in advance.
Additional inspections could also be needed to follow up on HOA violations or if tenants request to add an additional adult or pet to the lease.
Owners can also request an interior inspection at any time, giving tenants a 48-hour notice. Owners who live out of town often request to walk through the home whenever they return to our area.
We use the zInspector App to manage our inspections. The app allows us to store hundreds of photos and comments and to share them easily with our landlords.
Feel free to contact Michele Odems at 703-963-6540 if you have any specific questions on our inspection program or on how a self-managing landlord should document the periodic inspections.