At Bottom Line Property Management our staff knows firsthand how important property inspections are to an owner’s investment and property. For this reason, we conduct periodic inspections throughout the year of the inside and outside of your home to check in on what’s taking place with your property and to see how the resident is maintaining the unit. A rental property inspection is often conducted while the tenant is present, so they are informed of any issues or concerns that arise during the inspection.
We recommend and execute four types of inspections that should be conducted at your rental property:
A move in inspection with documentation and pictures of the rental property allows for us and your resident to review the condition of the property before they move in and sets the expectation of the condition in which the property should be returned. It’s also an opportunity for us to fix any previously unnoticed repairs or maintenance items before the resident moves in, which sets the stage for a positive and professional ongoing relationship with your resident. We use a move-in checklist to document any issues with the property, and then ask the resident to sign and date the form. We also find it helpful to take photos of any existing damage to maintain along with the paperwork.
This inspection helps us determine the condition of the property when the resident moves out. We typically schedule the walk-through on the day the resident vacates the premises. If we do it too early, the resident may cause damage during the last few days on the property or in the process of moving out, which is unfortunately quite common. (For example, floors can easily be scratched or walls easily damaged while the resident or movers are moving large or heavy furniture.) If we do it too late, the tenants may be able to claim that the damage was not caused by them. Time of is the essence when it comes to move-out inspections and security deposit dispositions. As your professional property management company, we will make sure the timing is being optimized and the required regulatory guidelines are being met.
Routine or Periodic Inspection
This type of inspection should be conducted at least once per year to ensure that the property is still in tip-top condition. It allows us to stay on top of deferred maintenance issues that could be the landlords responsibility and gives the resident a chance to correct any damage they have caused before it gets worse or before their lease ends and they move out. During this inspection we often recommend changing or ensuring the air filters for the HVAC system are being changed. Ultimately, air filters are a resident responsibility per the lease agreement, but this is something that greatly affects the landlord, so we like to ensure this is done and/or do it while on site conducting the inspection. We can also leave the resident with a few extra air filters and educate them on how to change the filter going forward to ensure their air quality is optimal and your HVAC unit is being properly maintained.
This inspection doesn’t require advanced notification, since we are not entering the property. We are very local and hands on, which means you will often see our Bottom Line Property Management branded vehicles out in the field and in the local community throughout the day. We make it a point to take routes that will allow us to drive by many of the properties we manage throughout the week and month. By simply observing if there are any issues on the outside of the property we can often determine if a routine inspection is in order for that particular property.
Why We Inspect
Besides property damage and loss of income due to the cost of repairs, another reason that it is important to perform property inspections is for insurance and liability purposes. A landlord can be held responsible for an injury on the leased premises if it can be shown that the landlord was somehow negligent in maintaining the property, and that the negligence in doing so was the proximate cause of the injury or damage. Actual negligence is not needed, in most cases, to be specifically proven. It’s often enough for the plaintiff tenant to show that the landlord actually knew, or should have known, of a dangerous condition and, either failed to repair it, or failed to give adequate warning of the presence of said condition. To avoid, or at least minimize, the possibility of a lawsuit for negligence, the property manager should inspect the premises from time to time, not just at the beginning and the end of the leasehold but during routine or periodic inspections as noted above. We try to get residents involved by encouraging them to report dangerous conditions or security problems before they become a bigger issue for the landlord.
Liability claims are usually covered by a comprehensive general liability insurance policy, which includes the payment of damage awards, as well as attorney fees and costs incurred in defending against lawsuits. They are conditioned on the deductible amount and the policy limits. If you need a referral for a great insurance agent that we recommend, let us know and we will be glad to connect you. Although the common law imposes no duty on a landlord to protect tenants from criminal acts, modern law has evolved to the point that a landlord, under certain circumstances, may be responsible for the tenant’s security on the leased premises. Failure to adequately carry out that duty can expose the landlord to liability. Landlords take on the responsibility for making sure the common areas such as hallways, stairways, front entry ways and parking lots are kept in safe/good condition and are reasonably safe from would-be criminals. This could require hiring security personnel and the installation of surveillance equipment. A landlord also assumes some responsibility and potential liability, for the conduct of the residents.
If one knows of unlawful, obnoxious or other behavior that amounts to an ongoing nuisance, we can take steps to protect other residents, and other people, who are affected by his resident’s unreasonable or illicit conduct. This includes evicting the offend resident, if necessary. Dogs and other pets/animals that are not permitted via the lease may also expose a landlord to liability. Yet another reason that routine inspections are so important. We will require the resident to immediately remove any unapproved pet found during our inspection, pay for or repair any damage caused by such, and will even fine the resident if the action continues.
Prevention of deferred maintenance and the associated expense is another reason why we inspect your property. It is important to note that not all deferred maintenance is due to a property owner’s decision to purposely defer it. Preventative maintenance is a pro-active approach to prevent damage and more costly repairs. Preventative Maintenance Inspections can identify unknown or unreported repairs before they get worse and more costly. It is our goal to make preventative maintenance inspections mandatory. Many owners do not agree that the cost is worth the benefit. While it is true that preventative maintenance inspections cost money and sometimes no repairs are found, in the long-term, we believe that preventative maintenance inspections and acting on what is uncovered, will ultimately save the landlord money and prevent the potential for exposed liability.
Our team of property management professionals will see the pros of preventative maintenance much more often than the average property owner would see if they were inspecting their own property. We will identify issues during the preventative maintenance inspection and recommend the proper action required to prevent expensive repairs that could have been avoided with normal preventative maintenance and inspections.
Preventative maintenance and inspections are more important for rental homes and apartments than for your primary residence. Often, residents don’t feel the need to report maintenance items that may not directly affect or inconvenience them. While some residents have the most sincere of intentions and feel that they don’t want to bother the landlord or property manager and cost more money which could ultimately lead to rental increases. Others simply do not understand deferred maintenance or consider that the leaking faucet or water stain on the ceiling as something that needs to be addressed. Your home is our priority and our goal in preventative maintenance inspections is to minimize future expenses and help you budget accordingly, all while providing a safe and enjoyable living environment for your residents.
Normal and routine property inspections can often increase resident retention. In the single family or small multi-family rental market, renewals often make more sense than new lease trade-outs. For landlords, there are inevitable costs associated with turnover and finding a new tenant. Luckily, with a few strategic moves, resident retention can be simple. We make routine property inspections part of our plan to retain your residents and get them to renew their lease year after year. Property inspections and routine maintenance shows the residents that we care and want them to feel at home while living at your property. A strong relationship between a resident and their property management company has the power to make the renewal process quick and seamless. Helping renters feel at home begins and ends with engagement. Our established maintenance team of vendors will also contribute to building repertoire with your residents. Our goal is to create an outstanding living experience and retain more tenants for years to come.
The reason that we do rental property inspections throughout the rental relationship is to protect you and your assets and limit liability. It can help you retain some or all of a resident’s security deposit in order to pay for repairs or maintenance. Owning a rental property invariably comes with risks such as property damage, evictions, renter turnover and long vacancies. At Bottom Line Property Management, we are true professional property managers and our focus is to help you rest easier knowing the experts are monitoring your property condition throughout the year. Our management team has over 45 years of experience managing rental properties and if you own a rental property in the Charlotte, NC market or want to build your portfolio, we are here to help you.
As you become stretched too thin between properties and residents, rent collection and evictions, advertising vacancies and property inspections, you’re going to neglect basic customer service that all your residents deserve. That neglect may lead to dissatisfied residents that want to move once their lease is up or even prior. To avoid overwhelming yourself and your family, creating dissatisfied residents, and losing money due to vacancy or deferred maintenance, hire Bottom Line Property Management to assist you with your rental property. As your professional property manager, we will have direct contact with your residents and take the burden away from you. We will oversee all aspects of maintenance and repairs, resident complaints, rent collection, and even property inspections. With our top-notch property management team taking care of your investment property, you’ll be that much closer to increasing your Bottom Line!