Check WHILE They Rent
Inspecting a tenant’s unit for damage, against-contract, or illegal possessions.
Inspections are an important duty to help protect your investment in a property. Commonly you would have both move-in and move-out inspections that involve tenants to document any damages that existed before and exist after the duration of their living in your apartment buildings. But it shouldn’t stop there: an annual inspection of the apartment building should always be kept in mind and routinely executed by notifying tenants prior to inspecting unit-by-unit. While the prospect may sound tedious, it’s important to watch out for any damages caused by tenants disregarding any regulations established prior to moving in, or if they’re upholding any agreed tenant-required maintenance clauses in the lease. Catching these things now can prevent headaches in the future when the tenant moves out or – worst case scenarios – requires eviction.
Some of the things to look out for when inspecting apartment units include:
Potted plants: Potted plants’ potential spillage of water and soil onto a balcony deck can cause unsightly damage that can make the unit harder to market to future tenants after the current one has moved out.
Illegal drugs and marijuana: Manufacturing of drugs and narcotics can produce distinct caustic odors, and you’ll likely be able to identify right away through a unit-by-unit inspection if some illegal manufacturing is happening under your property. This along with tenant behavior regarding utility spikes and reports of high traffic in and out of the suspected unit can help you determine whether an eviction notice is warranted. Even marijuana, while it is legal to possess and grow in the state of California, can be a violation of a lease prohibition that includes the smoking “of any substance” in the clause.
Pets: This is fairly easy if a no-pets policy has been established. While a tenant may be able to hide food and water bowls in cupboards, animal hair due to shedding can be more difficult hide, and animal odors can linger even if using air freshening agents. While merely finding the presence of an animal may be reason enough to give notice on a no-pets establishment, it can become difficult to manage if there is only a quantity limit to pets instead of a straight ban or if only certain animals are allowed (No dogs or cats, birds are okay). In this case, it’s important to spot contradicting animal hairs, or if spikes in water use are apparent in their water bill. For further investigations, it’s beneficial to listen to complaints from neighboring tenants, but we’ll only cover sight and smell recognition here. In the case you encounter a fish tank, not only do you face huge spikes in water usage, but also…
High damage to potential furniture: The allowance of items like fish tanks, waterbeds, or any type of liquid furniture is up to the landlord’s discretion, but can cause huge damages, especially if the amount of liquid being contained exceeds 10 gallons. If allowed at all, the tenant should agree to cover insurance fees by the owners to cover any and all possible losses due to possession of such items. It’s within your best interest to instead strictly prohibit them.
In the most extreme cases, a tenant that made a good impression through decent credit scores and being able to pay the rent on time could also have the potential to cause massive damage to your unit. Carrying out a yearly routine inspection can help you identify any potential issues and address them before things get too out of hand.