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Rental Inspection Checklist: What To Look Out For

Property inspections are a normal part of property management. Whether as a landlord or property manager, you must conduct inspections on a regular basis to ensure the property stays up to standard. As such, it is always good to have a rental inspection checklist handy so you don’t miss any important items.


The Ultimate Rental Inspection Checklist

It is essential to inspect your rental properties before, during, and after a tenancy. Inspections allow you to pinpoint problem areas and possible maintenance issues before they get out of hand.

Through inspections, you can also determine whether a tenant has broken any lease terms related to property damages and alterations. After all, it is much easier to remedy a problem in its early stages.

Yet, many landlords and property managers struggle with inspections because they don’t know where to begin and what to look for. In this case, a rental inspection checklist can help.

A rental inspection checklist is a handy tool you can use to make sure your rental property is in tiptop shape. Apart from relying on a visual inspection, you must also test certain fixtures to ensure they are working as intended.

When it comes to property inspections, there are three types you must keep in mind: a rental property inspection, a move-in inspection, and a move-out inspection. It is imperative that you perform all three inspections to leave no stone unturned.


Rental Property Inspection

A rental property inspection covers the general condition of the property. Its function is to verify the livability of the unit. By performing this inspection, you can prepare the property for showings and increase its marketability. After all, nobody wants to live in a dilapidated space.

You should also conduct a general property inspection throughout a tenancy to ensure everything stays up to standard. In doing so, you can keep your tenant happy, thereby improving resident retention. Other than that, landlords also have a responsibility to provide livable conditions for tenants, according to the Landlord-Tenant Law.

Some people go for an annual rental property inspection checklist, but this is not enough. At a minimum, you must inspect your rental property every 3 months. That means having your quarterly rental inspection checklist at the ready.


Move-in Inspection

checking off | inspect your rental propertiesProperty managers and landlords perform this type of inspection in the presence of the tenant just prior to move-in. The purpose of this is to pinpoint any existing damages before the tenant’s occupancy.

The tenant is not responsible for these existing damages. Typically, this will involve taking before photos which the tenant will need to sign acknowledging the condition of the property. When the tenant moves out, these pictures will serve as a reference for comparison.


Move-out Inspection

As you may have guessed, this type of inspection happens after the tenancy period, i.e. when the tenant moves out. It is important to conduct this inspection to see if the tenant damaged the property or altered anything without the landlord’s permission.

When reviewing the property after move-out, make sure to compare its current state with the photos you took prior to move-in. This will give you a more accurate review of the property’s condition.

Usually, the tenant shoulders the responsibility of covering for any damages they caused during their occupancy. This is a standard provision in most rental agreements.


Rental Property Checklist

All three inspections will generally contain the same items. When assessing the condition of your rental property before, during, and after tenancy, it is critical to use this rental inspection checklist as a guide to ensure you don’t miss anything:


General Items

  • Walls, floors, and ceilings. You must inspect the wall and floors for any marks or scratches. Any holes in the walls or ceilings must be sealed so as to keep the heat in and keep the critters out.
  • Doors and windows. Examine the door frames and handles as well as the window sills for any damages. You must also check if any blinds, curtains, or screens require replacing or cleaning. See if the locks on the doors work properly, too.
  • Light fixtures. Check whether all light fixtures are working fine. Have an electrician fix any issues immediately.
  • Plumbing. Hire a plumber to check the property’s plumbing system. This is to ensure you don’t run into clogged or broken pipes, which could lead to more expensive repairs in the future.
  • HVAC systems. Check your heating, ventilation, and airconditioning systems to ensure they are up to standard. This is essential year-round, but even more so during the wintertime.
  • Stairs and hallways. Check the stairs and hallways for any signs of damages, including the walls and floors. Stairs must stay sturdy and able to support the heavy loads.
  • Smoke detectors and alarms. For everyone’s protection, it is paramount to ensure all smoke detectors and smoke alarms are working correctly. Replace any batteries that need replacing. Test the alarms and detectors to ensure they are up to code.
  • Fire extinguishers or sprinkler systems. Inspect your fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems to make sure they work fine. That means replacing or repairing them if there are any damages.


Indoor Items

  • Baseboards and moldings. See if there are any damages to the baseboards and moldings. Make sure to have them thoroughly cleaned as well.
  • Fireplace. Fireplaces improve the appeal of any property, so make sure to check for any damages that need addressing. It is equally important to clean the chimneys to avoid attracting critters.
  • Counters, drawers, and cabinets. Go through all counter surfaces, drawers, and cabinets in the property. That includes the bedroom/s, bathroom, and kitchen. Don’t forget to check the inside of cabinets and drawers, too.
  • Appliances. All appliances must be working as intended. That includes stoves and burners (as well as their controls), range hoods, ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers.
  • Garbage disposal. If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, see to it that it is working properly and poses no risk to the tenant’s safety.
  • Showers and bathtubs. All showers and bathtubs must look clean and well-maintained. Make sure the knobs work properly and the water drains smoothly.
  • Toilet. Clogged toilets are a big no-no. Have your plumber examine the toilet to ensure it is working fine. That includes the commode.
  • Furniture. If your rental property comes furnished, it is equally important to inspect the furniture for any signs of deterioration or damage.


Outdoor Items

  • Parking area. If your property has a parking area, make sure it is equally clean and well-maintained. Address any cracks or deterioration.
  • Lawns, backyards, and gardens. Lush greenery always adds to the appeal of a property. As such, make sure to maintain all lawns, backyards, and gardens. You can do this yourself or hire a landscaper to do it for you.
  • Patios, balconies, porches, and decks. Inspect all surfaces of these areas to ensure they stay well-maintained. No cracks, holes, or breakages.


Use a Property Management Inspection Checklist Today

Property inspections are a vital part of managing rental properties. They give you a comprehensive look at the state of your property and allow you to discern which aspects require any work. But, it is easy to neglect some areas of your property without a proper checklist. Utilize one each time you conduct inspections to ensure you cover all your bases.

Although a rental inspection checklist will greatly help you evaluate the condition of your unit, it can only do so much. It is up to you to inspect your property thoroughly and strictly.

Many landlords find the process too tedious, which is why they seek the help of property management companies. If you are looking for a property manager, an HOA management company, or a real estate agent, start with Florida Property Management’s online directory.