When we talk about rental property inspections, we could be talking about the walk-through you complete at various stages of the tenancy. You’ll conduct a thorough inspection before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. You may do a mid-lease maintenance inspection to look for deferred and unreported repairs. There may be general walk-throughs you do to respond to any tenant concerns or to assess a cosmetic improvement that your tenant may be requesting.
Whatever your reason for being inside your property to inspect it, there are 8 specific things we recommend all Boston landlords look for when they’re walking through their investment property.
Here they are.
1. Safety Issues in Boston Rentals
What’s more important than safety? It’s what you’re looking for every time you’re on the property because your job as a landlord is to provide a safe, secure, and habitable rental home.
Some of the safety checklist items should include:
- Doors and windows. Do they easily open, close, and lock?
- Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Sufficient lighting outside.
- No loose steps, handrails, or floorboards. Make sure the carpet isn’t buckling or pulling up in corners.
- Working electrical outlets.
- Cleaning out lint build-up in dryers and air filters.
- Fire extinguishers are working and well-placed.
Keep habitability codes in mind as well while you inspect so you can be sure you’re not missing any specifics when it comes to lawfully renting out a home.
2. Look for Leaks and Plumbing Problems
Every inspection and walk-through should include looking for leaks. Water can be an immensely damaging force, and a leak or even a drip can lead to expensive problems at your property.
When you’re inspecting, get under sinks and check for water and leaks around toilets and tubs. A simple dripping faucet can turn into a major leak under the sink that causes rot and mold. Other signs that you may have a plumbing problem include discolored walls or ceilings, or soft spots.
During the winter, you’ll want to keep up with shoveling snow and keeping ice away from your property. Always check any irrigation systems you have for rusting or malfunctions as well. Is the dishwasher leaking any time a tenant runs it? Does a small pool of water show up outside the refrigerator from time to time? Get those appliances serviced or replace them with more efficient models.
3. HVAC Inspections Save Boston Landlords Money
Boston has cold winters and humid summers, so your tenants will likely need both heating and air conditioning, depending on the time of year.
The HVAC system in your Boston rental property is potentially one of the most expensive things you’ll ever have to repair or replace. You can avoid the risk of expensive emergency repairs by inspecting your entire system at least once a year. Have a professional technician take a look at it.
Outside of that preventative maintenance inspection, you can take a look at it when you’re on the property checking things out. Make sure it’s running efficiently and that the air and heat are easy to turn on and regulate.
Because of the cost of repairs and your desire to extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling systems, your HVAC system needs a lot of preventative attention. It should always be one of the things you look at carefully during an inspection.
4. Boston Rental Property Appliances
You can expect rental property appliances to deteriorate quickly, thanks to the wear and tear and the constant change of tenants. You’ll want to check them when you’re inspecting your property. Make sure they’re functional, attractive, and not causing leaks or sparks, or other potential problems. If the dishwasher smells funky, run it and see if the odor lingers. When the fridge begins leaking, decide whether you want to repair it or replace it.
Tenants are looking for modern, energy-efficient appliances. Stainless steel is usually preferred, but you don’t have to trade in your economical models for shiny stainless. Just make sure all the appliances match.
Energy efficiency is another important thing to tenants. They want to keep their electric and water bills down. Many tenants today are also concerned with their carbon footprint. Look for the Energy Star rating when you buy new appliances.
5. Inspect the Carpet and Consider Hard Surface Floors
Inspect the condition of your floors. The flooring you provide will impact your rental value and the type of tenants you attract. You may have to clean your carpet during every turnover period until it’s time to simply replace it. Carpet can easily trap allergens, dust, and pet odors. More and more rental properties are replacing carpet with hard surface flooring. It’s more appealing to tenants and easier for you to maintain.
Make sure floors and foundations are strong, healthy, and looking good. Tenants will always notice if the carpet is discolored or the hardwood floors are scratched. Your inspection should tell you whether the floors simply need a good cleaning before the next tenant or whether something needs to be replaced.
6. Look for Lease Violations
Inspections, while the property is occupied, are a little different.
You’re looking for all the usual maintenance and safety issues. But, you’re also looking at how well your residents clean and take care of the home. You want to know they’re following the lease.
Look for unauthorized pets or long-term guests at the property when you’re inspecting. Hold your tenants accountable to the lease terms and the rules and regulations they agreed to. If you don’t allow smoking and there’s evidence of smoking, for example, address it with your tenants.
7. Look for Opportunities to Upgrade and Update
Tenants like upgrades and updates. Renovations are expensive, but when you can make a few cost-effective improvements to your property, you’re going to reduce your vacancy time, attract and retain better residents, and increase the value and ROI of your property.
A rental inspection is a perfect opportunity to look for potential places you can make upgrades and updates.
8. Tenant Satisfaction
Inspecting when a tenant is in place and present gives you a good opportunity to work on your tenant retention plan. Have a friendly conversation with your tenants about their rental experience. You want to provide good customer service and keep an open and transparent dialogue going with your tenants. Find out how they like the property, what they wish they had that they don’t already have, and whether there’s anything they need help understanding about the rental process or the lease agreement.
These are 8 things to look for when inspecting your Boston rental property. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at Platinum Realty Group.