The importance of routine inspections cannot be understated. Routine inspections allow you to identify and address any maintenance or repair issues. This gives landlords peace of mind, knowing their valued investments are being carefully attended to. The details recorded at routine inspections are also used as evidence in disputes between owners and tenants. Therefore, to serve their purpose, routine inspections need to be done thoroughly and competently. At the same time, routine inspections don’t have to be a difficult process.
During the inspection, the home inspector will look over the home’s exterior and interior, making note of any potential issues they see. This generally includes checking that the plumbing, heating and electrical systems are functional. They’ll look at every room, as well as the roof, siding and foundation. Often, the inspector will make sure major appliances are operable. After the inspection, you’ll receive a report letting you know what issues they found.
Before the tenant first moves in, the property manager will conduct an initial inspection. This is a very thorough inspection that documents the condition of the property in detail, including photographs.
Tenants can use the inspection as a chance to either raise an issue or explain a previous issue in more detail.
To prepare for a routine inspection, tenants should:
- Clean the property thoroughly. And while there’s no legal requirement to keep the place tidy, it can’t hurt.
- Make a list of any issues they want to raise. They might be immediate maintenance problems, like a leaking tap, problems with heating and cooling, or requests for upgrades like a security light in the porch. Ideally, tenants should send the list through ahead of time: that way the property manager is prepared and can deal with them faster.
- If the tenants have (and are allowed) pets, make sure they’re secured for the visit.
A standard home inspection in Connecticut includes a visual inspection of the premises as well as basic testing of mechanical systems. That’s not different from other states. But depending on where in Connecticut you’re looking to rent and the tome of the year, there may be specific issues to consider.
- If it’s cold outside, your home inspector won’t be able to test the air conditioning, there’s really no way to tell if it’s working or not until you need it. Lack of maintenance on heating and cooling systems is a common problem.
- Snow can also be an issue. With a snow-covered roof, it’s a visual, non-invasive inspection. If the attic space is finished, the home inspector won’t be able to look at the sheathing and check for signs of moisture intrusion.
- Radon is a common issue in southern Connecticut. Radon testing is not within the scope of a normal home inspection, so to have it evaluated, you’d need to find a home inspector who is certified to test for radon or request a separate radon inspection.
- Most foundation cracks are what you’d expect to see from a house settling, and simply need to be sealed. However, crumbling foundations have made the news in recent years, found in homes built between 1983 and 2015.
Why Inspections are Important
Inspections may seem like an arduous task, but they can really pay off in the long run. Here are some reasons why routine inspections are critical to your property management business:
- Preventative way to mitigate serious issues, such as roof leaks, busted pipes, or termites from getting out of hand, which can cost your business and owners money
- Helps you monitor any potential safety hazards that could endanger your residents and increase your liability, such as malfunctioning smoke detectors or downed electrical wires or tree branches
- Improves resident satisfaction, which leads to better resident retention
- Ensures your residents are following lease terms, keeping your unit in good condition, and taking care of any tenant-required maintenance tasks
- Helps you maintain and in some cases improve the value of your property
Inspections are an important aspect of property management. A quick inspection could help avert significant expenses down the road, and with modern tools, it’s easier and faster than ever to keep track of the condition of your properties. Whether annual, interim, or spot—regular inspections should be on your agenda.
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