Periodic inspections are an important part of renting out a Colorado Springs property. In our experience, we’ve noticed there are several trains of thought when it comes to periodic inspections, and we’re entertaining a few of those in today’s blog.
Notice Requirements Give Tenants Time to Prepare
Some landlords think that by doing an inspection, you are going to stop a resident from doing something or you are going to catch a resident in the act of doing something. I don’t see that happening all that much because in Colorado, we have to notify tenants before visiting the property. We generally have to give at least a one-day notice for non-emergency inspections.
If you tell a resident today that you are going to be there tomorrow and the resident knows that they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing whether it’s a pet that is not supposed to be there or guests staying longer than allowed, they are going to have these issues rectified before you arrive.
When they have a pet that hasn’t been authorized, that pet is likely walking at a park somewhere and not at the home. Anything associated with the pet will be hidden when the scheduled inspection time arrives. If you have uninvited guests or unexpected guests staying longer than they are supposed to be, the resident will usually pitch it as a family member or friend here for the short term.
These things happen a lot. Do not use these inspections to catch a resident in the act of something. If there is a hole in the wall, they have likely covered that hole with a picture. Or if there is a stain on the floor, they may have thrown a rug down over it. Don’t be surprised if you go in there and the house looks pretty good.
Also, it’s not the end of the world. Let’s be honest, the likelihood of a resident fulfilling 100% of the obligations in the lease all the time is pretty slim. People are going to get away with things either intentionally or unintentionally.
Check for Routine Maintenance
Periodic inspections are really to ensure there is nothing the landlord needs to do to maintain the property. Check that the exterior paint is in good condition and there is no rotting wood. Downspouts and gutters should be directed away from the foundation to reduce the potential for flood and water damage.
When you go inside, look under all the sinks and turn on all the plumbing fixtures to make sure they function. Check all of the detectors and make sure they are all in good working condition. In Colorado, landlords must provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but residents must maintain them.
Check the caulking and the silicon along the bathtub as well as the wax ring around the toilet and the floor. The repairs that cost our owners the most amount of money are almost always water-related. It might be the sewer backing up or a plumbing issue or a long-term water problem. Those are the worst because most of the time they are not covered by your insurance company. If you have a pipe break, this sudden and accidental loss may be covered by your insurance. If you have something like ground water or a shower that has been leaking behind the faucet for a while now, and you peel those tiles off and find out there is a bunch of mold, the likelihood of getting an insurance claim on that is very low and the cost is very high.
Make sure you are checking each of those things as well as your furnace filter. You want to ensure the home is safe and habitable.
Communicate with Your Residents
Communicate with your resident during the periodic inspection because sometimes they will tell you things they wouldn’t submit a work order for. Just ask them if there is anything they would like to point out while you are there. Explain you haven’t seen many maintenance requests from them, which you appreciate because that means they are taking care of the place.
They may point some things out to you. I’ve had examples where we have had outside water intrusion come through windows that were deteriorating which is completely unrelated to the resident. But it was something they were able to point out to us, and it gave us the ability to decide whether something needed to be done.
If you would like a template that you can use when you go to your next property visit, please reach out and we can provide that for you. It is just something you can take to your property and use to ensure you’re hitting all the hotspots. In our current COVID world, inspections are a little bit different. Many of our residents did a self-inspection when they moved in. This isn’t necessarily ideal, but it’s better than having no inspection at all.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Muldoon Associates for more information.