Regular property inspections might seem unnecessary when you’re renting out a Boston property to a great tenant who rarely has any complaints or requests for maintenance. If your investment property is new and in great condition, you might feel like there’s no reason to go walking around. Perhaps you’re nervous about invading your tenant’s privacy. Maybe you simply struggle to find the time to perform those inspections.
However, those routine property inspections for your Boston rental home are crucial. Even if your tenant is easy. Even if your home is in good condition. Even if you’re too busy to think about them.
The necessity of move-in and move-out inspections are fairly obvious. You know you need to effectively document the condition of your property before the tenancy and after the tenancy. You know it makes a difference to how you manage the security deposit and what you need to do to prepare the property for your next tenant.
You may not know why regular property inspections are important outside of those two periods. We’re here to help you get some clarity on why they’re so essential.
Regular Inspections Protect Against Deferred and Unreported Maintenance
Your Boston rental property will undergo some general wear and tear when you’re renting it out. This is to be expected. However, you want to be checking up on things enough that you’re avoiding emergency maintenance issues whenever you can, whether it’s an emergency plumbing disaster or the heating not working in the middle of a cold January night.
Preventative and routine maintenance will reduce the risk of emergency maintenance. Inspections help.
Train your tenants to make timely maintenance requests. Deferred maintenance is always more expensive than preventative or routine repairs. The longer you let a problem grow, the more expensive and complicated it’s going to become.
Your routine inspections will give you the opportunity to check out some of the most used and easily broken systems and functions in your rental property. At the very least, you should check these things anytime you have the opportunity to be inside your rental home:
- Water issues, particularly leaks or puddles under sinks and behind toilets and tubs.
- Locks on the doors and windows.
- Seasonal issues that may impact your gutters, irrigation, or walkways and driveways.
- Check the HVAC system and make sure the filters are being changed on schedule.
- Ask about the appliances and the electrical outlets. If you’ve already repaired an appliance multiple times, consider replacing it altogether.
If there are any indications that work needs to be done, make a note of it and get the repair scheduled as soon as possible.
Routine Boston Rental Property Inspections Hold Your Tenants Accountable
Protecting the condition of your investment property is an important part of renting it out, and when you have tenants in place, it’s hard to know exactly what they’re doing in your home. If you’ve screened them well, there’s likely little to worry about. However, you want to be sure your tenants are following the terms of your lease agreement.
Most Boston lease agreements are pretty detailed when it comes to the responsibilities of your tenants and what you expect from them while they’re living in your property. You’ve likely outlined cleaning standards and the requirements of basic maintenance that should be met.
Regular inspections allow you to uncover any potential warning signs that the property isn’t being cleaned or maintained the way the lease requires. You might find insects in the kitchen or air filters that haven’t been changed since the tenants moved in. Maybe your lease agreement requires your tenants to take care of the lawn. If that grass is a foot high, you’ll know that they’re not doing what they agreed to do.
Not only are you checking that the leasing standards are being met, but you’re also ensuring the lease terms are being satisfied. If you have a strict no-pet policy and there are dog bowls all over the floor, you may need to do some further investigating. If your lease prohibits changing the property but several walls are painted purple, you’re going to be glad you scheduled an inspection.
This doesn’t mean you should approach an inspection expecting the worst. You also want to respect your tenant’s time and privacy. Be fair to our residents. Provide enough time for them to prepare for your arrival. Written notice that’s delivered at least two days before your intended inspection is usually adequate.
Routine Inspections Can Improve Tenant Retention
The inspection process should actually benefit tenants as much as it benefits owners.
It’s rare to have together time with your tenants, especially since there’s a good chance they’re paying rent online and you’re communicating via phone and messaging. When you can get together to inspect the home, you have the opportunity to improve your relationship and talk about how things are going at the property. They may need things that they’re afraid to ask for. When you’re having a casual, in-person conversation, they may be more likely to open up.
Periodic inspections ensure you’re providing a safe and habitable home. You can make sure all the major appliances are in safe, working order and you can be sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are functional. Tenants are going to appreciate that.
Tenant retention should always be part of the customer service you’re providing. It’s better for your bottom line when you’re able to keep good tenants in place. When your current tenant renews their lease agreement, it saves you on turnover and vacancy costs. You don’t have to worry about finding a new tenant or putting new paint on the walls.
One way to improve your tenant retention is by paying attention to communication. These inspections open up the lines of communication between you and your tenant. It allows you to work together on maintaining your investment. Tenants who feel comfortable with their landlords are more likely to stay in place and renew their lease agreements.
Regular Inspections Can Give You Some Good Ideas
When you’re regularly inspecting your Boston rental property, you can make sure your home is competitive in a crowded housing market. If you’re renting out a fairly new property or you’ve had the same tenant in place for five years, you may not have had the opportunity to make many improvements and upgrades. You probably didn’t need to.
But, when you can get inside the property for a routine inspection every year, you can make a list of things you might want to improve upon. Check the paint and the carpet. If the washer and dryer aren’t as reliable as they once were, make a note that you should replace them as an incentive to your tenants for renewing their lease agreement. Annual inspections help you budget for these projects and upgrades sooner than they’ll be needed. You can plan to make these upgrades at lease renewal time.
How Often Should You Inspect Your Boston Rental Home?
You know that the two most important times for inspections are before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. Outside of that schedule, you can decide when you conduct a routine inspection of your property when it’s occupied. There are a few different schools of thought on this.
Some Boston property managers believe it’s best to inspect a few months after a tenant has moved in. This gives you the opportunity to see how they’ve settled in and to make any minor repairs that may be necessary but was unreported.
Others believe that the halfway point is a good time to inspect. So, halfway through the lease period, you’ll schedule an inspection to check for maintenance.
Finally, there are those who prefer to wait and inspect right before the lease renewal date is approaching. This could work if you want to check the property before making an offer for a lease renewal.
You can inspect when it seems to make sense to you. Always make sure to provide ample notice; at least 24 hours. Also, let your tenants know how long you expect to be there. Don’t be a nuisance. There’s no need to be showing up at the property every six weeks, asking to inspect.
Working with a Boston property management company is always a good idea when it comes to inspections and effectively managing and maintaining your rental property. With experienced property management partners, you will know that your property is in excellent condition and the terms of your lease agreement are being followed. Good property managers will make routine inspections a priority and will also provide well-documented inspection reports
At Platinum Realty Group, we are exceptionally good when it comes to inspecting and protecting your property. We’re also able to establish and maintain good relationships with residents, making it easier and more natural for us to get inside the home and make sure everything is going the way we expect it to.
If you’d like to hear more about how we can help, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at Platinum Realty Group.