No matter how thoroughly you screen tenants, routine inspections are a must for any Tampa landlord. Routine rental property inspections will help you realize the best possible rental income, protect your investment and maintain your property in good condition.
There are five types of rental property inspections that you should be doing at your Tampa rental property.
5 Types of Rental Property Inspections
· Move-in Inspection
As the name suggests, this type of rental property inspection is conducted when a renter moves in. It’s probably the second most crucial step that you should do after a successful tenant screening process.
A move-in inspection should take place after the tenant has the keys but hasn’t quite yet moved in. For a tenant, a move-in checklist helps document any property damage present prior to their move-in.
For a landlord, the checklist will be crucial when assessing property damage when the tenant moves out.
· Move-out Inspections
A move-out inspection is like a move-in inspection. The purpose of a move-out inspection is to check for possible property damage caused by the tenant. A tenant will be liable for any property damage that was not present when they were moving in. The damage must, however, be in excess of normal “wear and tear”.
An example of a property damage exceeding normal wear and tear is fading or yellowing of paint. Normal wear and tear isn’t caused by the renter’s abuse or neglect. But rather it’s a deterioration that occurs over the course of their tenancy.
Property damage, on the other hand, results from a renter’s negligence or carelessness. An example of a property damage is large holes in the walls. In such a case, you have a right to deduct the costs of fixing the damage from the renter’s security deposit.
· Drive-by Inspections
Drive-by inspections help Tampa landlords make quick assessments of a property’s condition and management. A drive-by inspection helps check for such things as structural damage and unattended landscaping.
Unlike a normal inspection, a drive-by inspection doesn’t require any prior notice to the tenant. This helps you get to see the property as it would be on any normal day.
· Routine Inspections
Just as the name suggests, a routine inspection helps ensure that the property is clean and safe.
Routine inspections help identify common issues like illegal activity, unauthorized tenants, deferred maintenance, unauthorized pets, and safety issues.
· Preventative Inspection
A preventative inspection helps prevent minor issues from morphing into serious ones. Ideally, it should be conducted quarterly. Similar to a drive-by inspection, Tampa rental laws don’t require you to provide prior notice.
When conducting a preventative inspection, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Flooring, stairs, and transition strips – They should all be level and sturdy. There shouldn’t be any damage, cracks, squeaks or creaks regardless of the type of floors or surface.
- Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and similar types of safety equipment.
- Fences and landscaping structures should be in place and in good repair.
- Exterior windows, doors, skylights, and so on – They should open and close properly.
- Areas of sponginess, signs of pooling water, cracks, or staining.
The aforementioned inspections are necessary whether you manage the Tampa rental units yourself or use a local Tampa property manager. During a rental property inspection, it’s important that you adhere to the Florida landlord-tenant laws. For example, before entering a tenant’s rental unit, make sure that you give adequate notice. Generally, most states, including Florida require that you give a 24 hours’ notice.
Why Perform Inspections at Your Tampa Rental Property?
· Helps Build a Strong Landlord-Tenant Relationship
As you carry out property inspections, you get to know the concerns your renters have. This helps build a solid landlord-tenant relationship.
A good landlord-tenant relationship is a two-way street. As a landlord, you seek to receive a timely return on your investment. Tenants, on the other hand, desire a good quality of living.
· Helps to Determine If There’s Need for Repairs
During the rental property inspection, check for leaking faucets, toilets or drainage systems. You could also request your tenants to notify you of any maintenance issue.
· Helps to Figure out Who Your Renters Are
Unauthorized renters can create problems. Routine inspections help ensure that your Tampa rental property is only occupied by qualified renters. That is, tenants who’ve passed your tenant screening process.
Though, ensure that you check what Florida rental laws say regarding guests.
· Helps to Check for Safety Hazards
As a Tampa landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your rental property is habitable. It should adhere to safety and health codes.
If safety and health standards aren’t in check, your tenant could file a lawsuit against you. In the lawsuit, they could claim that you have “constructively evicted” them. In such a case, they would, among other things be legally justified to break the lease early.
During the inspection, check for safety hazards such as overgrown landscaping, overloaded electrical outlets, malfunctioning smoke detectors, and so on. Also, make sure you respond immediately whenever a tenant raises issues regarding their safety.
· Helps to Check for Criminal Activity
A routine inspection can help you figure out if there are criminal activities such as drug manufacturing at your Tampa rental property.
Signs of drug manufacturing range from uneven melting on the roof, odd smells, and covered windows.
· Helps to Ensure That Tenants Are Complying with the Terms of the Lease
Once a tenant signs a Tampa lease agreement, they are contractually obligated to adhere to all terms until they move out.
A routine rental property inspection may help you unearth common lease violations. For example, unauthorized subletting and unapproved pets.
· Helps Save Money
Routine inspections help identify problems early. This’ll help you save money, as you are able to fix issues early before they become serious and costly.
· Help Show Your Tenants That You Care About the Property
This, in turn, makes tenants take good care of your property.
A rental property is a huge investment. This is why you will spare no effort to ensure that it is in good condition at all times. If you find the inspection process a bit daunting, then it would be best to hire a competent Tampa property management company to do it for you.