Keeping a close eye on your rental property is important for the welfare of your property. Tackling issues before they get out of hand will also help protect your pocketbook.
While you want to make sure your tenants are keeping proper care of the home, you also want to make sure there are no issues with the property that are going unnoticed, especially when the property is vacant.
I remember a time when I drove by a vacant rental and noticed water gushing out of the crawl space. Yeah, a pipe had busted. If I hadn’t been there that day to notice this and shut off the water at the meter, I shudder to think how much worse my utility bill would have been.
So, how often should you visit your rental property?
I recommend doing a drive-by of your property once every two weeks and an interior inspection once every 3-4 months. Even if you’ve hired a management company who says they’ll do this, do it yourself anyway. Nobody will care as much about your property as you.
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The Drive-By Inspection
When you drive by your rental property, here are a few things to look out for:
- Obvious signs of damage (i.e. Broken windows, damaged doors, broken blinds, etc.)
- Trash piling up (this is a big one)
- Too many vehicles parked on the lot
- Loud music
There are of course other issues you may notice, but these seem to be the most common.
The Interior Inspection
As a landlord, while you do have the right to inspect your property by giving your tenant proper notice, you also want to be careful not to steer good tenants away be appearing overbearing.
One way to make it seems as though you’re not regularly “spying on them” is to send in other people apart from yourself. For instance, you might send in your HVAC professional twice a year to do maintenance and have him let you know how about the overall condition of the property.
Holding your tenant(s) regularly accountable will help to ensure your long-term success as a landlord. If you see things that present a lease violation, I recommend sending your tenants a letter giving them time to remedy the issue along with photos.
You should also clearly spell out the consequences if they don’t comply to your requests. This documentation will be very helpful in the event you have to evict.