In the property management business, one of the biggest concerns we hear from a landlord who is renting their property— especially when they’re out of state— is: “How will I know if my tenants are maintaining my property?” The easy answer: hire a good local property management company to take care of it for you. Indeed, many out-of-state landlords have come to rely on property managers to help them maintain their investment.
But not all property management companies are created equal. In fact, many landlords are desperate for help, facing thousands of dollars in property damage. Some had been working with property management companies that only inspected the rentals once a year (which isn’t often enough) and charged extra fees for additional inspections.
A good property management company will conduct rental inspections every four months to ensure the tenant is maintaining the property and to minimize any chance of future damage or neglect. Inspecting frequently accomplishes three goals:
- It reduces the chances that the renters will damage the property (they’re more likely to get caught)
- It minimizes the cost of home improvement repairs by catching problems before they become catastrophes; and
- It gives property managers a chance to ensure that all routine property maintenance is being taken care of.
When conducting the four-month routine inspection the property manager should:
- Be thorough, yet swift (you don’t want to inconvenience the tenant).
- Check for damage or neglect. Look for damage (wall holes, torn carpet, broken fixtures), as well as signs of neglect (dirty air filters, water leaks). The property manager should document all of these findings (positive or negative).
- Have the tenant sign a “walk-through” report. A walk-through report is proof that the inspection took place and – more importantly – serves as the tenant’s acknowledgment of the inspection findings.
Tony Sena is a native of the Las Vegas Valley and a former police officer for the City of Henderson. He is the broker/owner of Shelter Realty, Inc., in Henderson, Nevada. His company offers residential real estate and property management services for the Las Vegas Valley.