If you’re renting out a property, you need to understand the importance of rental property inspections. Some Colorado Springs landlords don’t like to do them. We can understand the hesitation – they’re time-consuming and you don’t want to risk disrupting your tenants, who are entitled to the free and quiet enjoyment of their property.
But, these inspections are important. And, if your tenants are taking care of the property and meeting your expectations, they won’t mind your request to visit the property once or twice during a lease term.
Those move-in and move-out inspections are also important to the preservation of your property condition. They’ll tell you what kind of maintenance work may be needed.
Balance the need for routine property inspections with your tenant’s need for privacy, and be respectful when you’re in the home. Once there, make the most of your visit. We’ve created a list of 10 things you absolutely must look for when you’re inspecting your Colorado Springs rental property.
1. Look for Plumbing Problems in Your Colorado Springs Rental
You have to start with water.
Water will damage a Colorado Springs rental property faster than almost anything else. This is a year-round problem in our region, particularly when water freezes. You can amass a lot of plumbing bills after a frozen pipe episode. Sprinklers and irrigation systems in the yard that weren’t blown out properly can come back to haunt you in the coldest months, so inspect them carefully before the first freeze.
And, it’s not only a winter problem. If there’s a funny drip coming from a faucet, evidence of moisture under the floors, or a slow leak beneath a bathroom sink, you want to address those things right away. It doesn’t take long for a minor water issue to become a complete plumbing disaster. You can’t leave these problems alone because damp interiors only invite mold and mildew as well as rot. Before you know it, you’ll be pulling away drywall and pulling up floorboards.
Avoid the headaches of major plumbing repairs by checking for signs of leaks or water intrusion every time you inspect.
2. Safety and Habitability Issues
Perhaps the most basic and important responsibility as a landlord in Colorado Springs is to provide a safe and habitable home for your tenants. Safety and security are important to your renters, and it’s also an important part of preserving your property’s condition and value.
When you’re inspecting the property, look for any potential hazards or safety concerns. Some of the most important safety things to check include:
- Are the smoke detectors working and if necessary are batteries being checked and changed regularly?
- Are the windows and doors locking, unlocking, opening, and closing reliably?
- Is there adequate exterior lighting?
- Are all of the stairs and handrails in good condition?
- Are there any areas in the home where the carpet is buckling or the floors are warping?
- Has a lot of lint or dust built up in the appliances, such as the clothes dryer?
Check for loose doors, torn screens, branches that may be dangling over the roof, and uneven pavement or walkways. Trim back any bushes or trees that might be growing in front of windows and obstructing the view your tenants have of the exterior.
3. Roofs and Exterior Issues
The roof on your Colorado Springs rental home takes a lot. During the summer, there’s constant sun and heat. In the winter, there’s snow piling up and ice. High winds. Rain. Your roof needs ongoing and preventative attention and it should always be a checklist item during your inspections.
Make sure the roof is safe and without any holes, pests, and debris. Make a note to trim back any trees that may be dropping leaves and sticks.
Take a look around the exterior of your property as well. Look for any structural or foundational problems that may need attention. If you’re renting a multi-family property, make sure the driveway or parking areas are in good shape as well as any common spaces.
4. Inspect Your Electrical Systems
Test every outlet to make sure it’s working and safe. Turn on all the lights and look for any problems when the appliances are running. It’s easy for a fire to start because of a wiring issue or an electrical problem that you didn’t know you had, so making this a part of your routine inspection checklist will help you keep your property safe.
When you notice electrical problems, either during a turnover or when a tenant is in place, contact your electrician right away. It might be a simple fix, but you don’t want to put your property at risk by delaying the repair. Lights should turn on reliably and you don’t want to see any smoke or smudging around the outlets.
5. Maintaining Colorado Springs HVAC Systems
The heating and cooling system is probably one of the most expensive parts of your rental property. You want to keep it in good condition and working well. Turn on the furnace and the air conditioning. Change the air filters and make sure there isn’t any rust or debris that’s potentially clogging your cooling unit.
If you don’t already have a professional HVAC technician checking your unit annually, consider a preventative plan. This will increase the lifespan of your heating and cooling unit, and prevent any expensive surprise repairs. You won’t have to worry about tenants losing heat during the coldest night of the winter or air conditioning on a particularly humid summer afternoon.
6. Potential Lease Violations
During your mid-lease inspections, your tenants will be in place.
This is an opportunity to look for not only maintenance issues, but evidence that your tenants are caring for your property in the way that you expect.
When you inspect, you’re ensuring the lease agreement is being followed. You may run into unauthorized tenants or pets who were not screened and approved. If the walls were painted without permission, you will have to address this with your tenants. Document any violations and put something in writing that requires your tenants to come into compliance or face potential eviction.
Enforcing your lease agreement is an important part of renting out a home. If you’re comfortable talking to your tenants about these things, discuss them while you’re there inspecting. Otherwise, follow up with something in writing that states the problem, references the lease, and provides instructions about how to come into compliance.
7. Deferred Maintenance in Colorado Springs Rental Properties
During your inspection, you should always look for maintenance issues that haven’t been reported by the tenants. Deferred and unreported maintenance issues are always problematic for landlords.
Perhaps the maintenance concern doesn’t seem important to the tenants or they don’t want to bother you. But, these things can often become expensive, and it can also put your property’s condition at risk. Reinforce with your tenants the importance of making maintenance requests right away.
8. Damage and Wear and Tear
During the move-out inspection, noticing wear and tear and identifying damage will be especially important. This will impact how you manage the return of your tenant’s security deposit.
Look for wear and tear during your normal inspections, too. If the paint is looking faded or the carpet is dirty, make plans to address those issues either during the tenancy or after your current tenant moves out.
Document all damage during inspections. You’ll need the extra support if a tenant decides to dispute any amount you withhold from their deposit.
9. Colorado Springs Tenant Satisfaction
During routine inspections, you want to use the time to have a conversation with your Colorado Springs tenants. This is a great opportunity to check-in and see if they’re having a pleasant rental experience.
Ask if there’s anything they need or if something can be improved to make their home more comfortable. Your tenant retention plan is an important part of your investment strategy, and you need to take the time to be open and responsive to your tenants. Talk to them about how things are going.
It’s possible your tenants won’t be present when you’re inspecting. But, if they are, take the time to improve your relationship. You’ll find it leads to better retention rates.
10. Opportunities for Upgrades and Improvements
Finally, every rental property inspection should be an opportunity to think about how you can earn more on your rental property. Upgrades and updates will often lead to higher rental values and better tenants. While you’re inspecting, note the condition of your appliances. Are they looking old and worn? It might be time to replace them. Check the windows and see if new ones might be more energy-efficient and attractive.
You don’t have to make these improvements right away. But, knowing where you are most likely to upgrade can help you plan and budget for the future.
These are 10 things we think are important not to be missed during any rental inspection. If you’re struggling to find the time or a process to thoroughly inspect your Colorado Springs investment property, we can help. Contact us at Muldoon Associates.