Rental properties are huge investments, so keeping them in good condition is extremely important.
One way that landlords achieve this is by conducting rental property inspections.
A property inspection is typically routine and only serves to make sure that there is no excessive damage to the property. However, as a renter, you have your rights regarding property inspections.
In this guide, we will be going over how often a landlord can inspect a rental property, as well as some general guidance for renters and landlords regarding inspections.
To begin, let's go over the purpose of rental property inspections.
Why Do Landlords Inspect Rental Properties?
Landlords can have multiple reasons for wanting to inspect a rental property. Most of the time, they are inspections that are required in order to maintain the condition of the property. Other times, the inspections can be done to make sure that the property is still in safe and habitable conditions.
Two of the main inspections that landlords conduct are a move-in inspection and a move-out inspection. These inspections are typically used to assess the damage that a tenant has caused to a property throughout the tenancy. The landlord or inspector simply compares the results from the two inspections and makes sure that nothing has been damaged past wear and tear.
Other inspections include safety inspections. This could consist of multiple inspections where the landlord checks all of the safety features of a home. This includes smoke alarms, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and other important features.
The landlord also has the right to certain routine inspections. This routine inspection can serve to check everything at once and is usually done yearly, seasonally, or quarterly. These inspections are usually specified in the lease agreement on an agreed-upon date. For these inspections, as well as any other inspections, the landlord must provide proper notice to the tenant before stepping foot on the property.
If you want to learn more about rental property inspections, be sure to visit DoorLoop's full guide on rental property inspections.
However, in property management, there are some limits to how often a landlord can inspect a property. In the next section, we will be covering how often a landlord can inspect their rental properties.
How Often Can A Landlord Inspect A Property
Although a landlord may assume that since they are still the owners of the property then they can have access to it whenever, that is completely wrong. In most places, there are a collection of state and local regulations that limit the number of times a landlord can inspect a property.
This should always be the first step when determining how many times a landlord is allowed to inspect a property. If you want to learn more about your state and local laws, be sure to visit DoorLoop's Laws Page and quickly find your state laws.
After reading through your state laws, you may still find it difficult to come up with a concrete number of times that you should inspect an occupied rental property. This is because that number is largely based on a couple of factors, explained below.
Purpose Of Entry
One of the main things controlling the number of times that inspections should be held is the purpose. This means that depending on the purpose of the inspections, the number of times allowed changes.
For example, there are almost always going to be two inspections when the tenant moves in and when the tenant moves out. These are almost guaranteed as they allow the landlord to get a holistic idea of how the tenant took care of the property throughout the tenancy.
Some landlords will also choose to do quarterly or seasonal inspections. This completely depends on what the landlord and the tenant agree upon when signing the lease agreement.
However, there are some cases where the landlord may not conduct an "inspection" but is still visiting the property. In these cases, the landlord must give the tenant proper notice as well. Even if the tenant has been given a move-out notice and the property is being shown to prospective tenants, the landlord must still respect the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of the property, which will be discussed later in the guide.
One thing that should always be avoided and can warrant excessive property inspections is a drive-by inspection. This kind of "inspection" consists of the landlord checking in on the property from the outside. Although this is completely allowed, it is important that the landlord be cautious with how they are being conducted and how often. If the landlord is checking up on a rental unit too often, the tenant's right to privacy and quiet enjoyment may be interrupted.
Another factor that is important when determining how often to inspect a property is the landlord-tenant relationship. Even if the landlord and the tenant are close to one another, the tenant will likely not appreciate an unannounced visit.
This is why it is always important to adhere to a code of professionalism when dealing with tenants. Discussing inspections with your tenant allows both parties to agree on a certain frequency of inspections. Apart from setting inspections dates and frequency, these discussions allow you to become closer to your tenant and learn more about them.
After discussing all of this with your tenants, it is extremely important that the landlord stick to it. This means that the landlord should not change up the dates of the inspections or the frequency. And if it is extremely necessary to add an additional inspection or change the date, the landlord must give proper notice of a minimum of 48 hours.
By keeping a professional relationship with your tenants, landlord inspections become much easier. The landlord will be able to go through the property and quickly mark everything that should be noted and leave without a problem. Throughout the inspection, the landlord and the tenant can even work on building a relationship to improve the landlord-tenant relationship.
One of the tenant's universal rights when renting is the right to privacy and quiet enjoyment. As mentioned before, excessive property inspections can seriously interfere with this right. There is a very fine line between the rights of the tenant and the rights of the landlord, which will be discussed below.
One of the most important things that tenants have to note is that the house does not belong to them. This means that they cannot simply change the locks or deny them entry. At the same time, landlords cannot simply walk into the property as they will be breaking the tenant's privacy.
This fine line between landlord and tenant rights is what makes it difficult to determine excessive inspections. For example, if the tenant's agreement is set to expire and the landlord is searching for other tenants, the unit will probably be shown to many people while the tenant is still there. If these are conducted every single day, the tenant may deem them excessive. But, if they are only done a few times a week, they can be acceptable.
The most important thing to remember is the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of the property. If the landlord feel's like they are being excessive, they probably are, and should reduce the number of inspections.
It is very difficult to pinpoint an exact number of times that a landlord can inspect a rental property. This is due to the number of laws and regulations that surround inspections. As a general rule of thumb, always remember to base your inspections on local and state laws. After that, use your own judgment and the relationship between your tenant and yourself to determine how many inspections should be done on the rental property.