At Florida Property Management & Sales, we recognize that people naturally feel a little anxious when it comes to inspections. As a landlord, you want to reduce your tenant’s anxiety and respect their right to privacy. You also wish to perform an excellent property inspection. It is, after all, one of your main obligations as a property owner in Broward County, Florida. Whether you are a property owner in Coral Springs, Davie, Plantation, or elsewhere, this is applicable to you.
So we need to ask, what is a good number of inspections to perform? If you do too little, you might not be alerted to maintenance issues you could have prevented if you had checked regularly. If you do too many, you might risk developing conflict with your tenants as they might view your constant inspections as an annoyance.
Here are recommended times to carry out inspections smoothly.
Move in Inspection
This is a standard procedure and must be done upon a tenant’s move in. Its purpose is to determine the property’s condition and to document it properly through pictures and videos. This is useful to account for future damages or wear and tear.
Move out Inspection
This is another standard procedure. It’s performed when a tenant’s lease expires. During the move out inspection, you will assess the condition of the rental property. This is required to:
- Note down damages or items that need repair.
- Calculate for estimated costs.
- Send the final list to the tenant.
- Determine how much of the security deposit will also be refunded.
As a landlord, you are permitted to conduct drive-by inspections to ensure that everything is as it should be. These inspections are not meant to disturb a tenant in any way. You are not allowed to check the interior of the rental unit. You can only observe the property from the outside. The purpose is to verify that the number of people living in the property is as specified on your lease. In case of a no-pet policy, this also helps to check if the tenant has followed the leasing agreement.
Routine Maintenance Checks
This is an acceptable way for you to make sure that issues are taken care in a timely matter. If you leave maintenance issues for too long, they will end up costing you money in the long run. Maintenance checks are essential for you to to be able to check the safety equipment in the property. For instance, you want to know if smoke alarms are working and if the fire extinguishers needed to be replaced. This can be done once a year, every season or every quarter.
Common things a landlord checks during routine maintenance:
- Cleanliness of space.
- Signs of molds.
- If appliances are in good working order.
- If air conditioning is fully operational .
- Look for holes that need fixing.
- Evaluate the landscaping maintenance (especially if it’s under the tenant’s responsibility).
At other times, you may need to attend to the property for things that fall outside of what would be considered regular maintenance.
- Need to repair a broken water heater or address a plumbing problem.
- When a natural disaster occurs.
- Prolonged tenant absence.
The landlord must present a notice to the tenant and must satisfy the following:
- 12 hour notice of their intent to enter the property.
- Enter at reasonable times (must not be earlier than 7:30AM nor later than 8PM).
However, exceptions to the rules exist. These are situations when it’s generally acceptable for a landlord to enter the rental property:
- Emergency cases (fire, water leak).
- Adhering to a court order
- When landlord has determined that tenant has abandoned his property
- When it’s deemed necessary because of a tenant’s prolonged absence. This is calculated as half the time for the periodic rental payment especially when tenant has not given the landlord any notice for a long absence.
Landlord’s Expected Behavior
As a landlord, you must display professionalism, especially during inspections. Always be courteous. Before signing a new lease with a tenant, ensure they are aware of the types of inspections you will conduct as well as their frequency.
Always follow the Florida State Law and the leasing agreement at all times. Even if the required notice is a minimum of 12 hours, you can give a longer time frame. Put yourself in the tenant’s shoes and consider their perspective.
Be mindful of a tenant’s privacy. Always show respect towards their right to enjoy themselves and be undisturbed in your rental property. Even if they have an obligation to permit you to inspect the property often, be reasonable. Tenants should not feel harassed and overly monitored. This may cause them to look for a rental unit elsewhere.
You want to protect your interest by keeping up with regular inspections and property maintenance. This will add more value points to your rental property and make it more marketable. It’s your duty to provide an excellent habitable space for your tenant. That said, be considerate and avoid violating your tenant’s privacy with excessive inspections.