Are Monthly Rental Home Inspections Desirable?
I was asked recently if we provided monthly rental home inspections. I assume what was meant was the kind of inspection where we go into the property, check everything out, eat dinner with the tenants, and then help any young children with their homework. Then we’d set a time to visit again the next month before hugging goodbye. Smiles would be all around.
This type of inspection would work if we were renting out the “Little House on the Prairie” and the harvest was plentiful that fall. But I’m not even sure how welcome we’d be if the rain wasn’t coming and Pa had to sell one of their prized cows to make ends meet. And I’m not sure how happy they would be to have another mouth to feed when we stopped by for our monthly inspection; we’d, of course, be slightly embarrassed that dinner conversation would focus on the eviction our clients, the Olsen’s, are ordering us to execute on them (“If rent isn’t paid, file for eviction on the Ingalls’s promptly on the 11th! No more famine excuses!”).
Unfortunately (and fortunately), modern life isn’t like this anymore. Tenants don’t want the property manager coming around; they’re busy and don’t want their property managers tied into their social life (usually).
However, rental home inspections are sometimes necessary. But how often should they be conducted? Let’s examine the pros and cons of a monthly visit:
Pros of monthly inspections:
Knowing what the tenants are up to.
Lease violations would be quickly recognized and dealt with.
Cons of monthly inspections:
Become a preferred rental vendor of the old KGB and Gestapo.
Limited benefit for costs associated with frequent visits.
Tenants will be hateful and not rent from you.
Pushback from tenant privacy issues.
Forced to deal with issues that arise- do you evict? Tough decisions and ultimatums have to be handed down, and then they need to be carried out.
More on #5. The “sometimes ignorance is bliss” is a tough one to explain. “I always want to know what is going on in my rental house!” Do you?
If violations are found, are you ready to evict? If the tenant is paying on time and in full every month, do you want your property manager looking for reasons to get rid of the tenants? Eviction is expensive! And when the tenants are being evicted, no one is paying the rent anymore. That’s a double whammy on costs.
Well, warnings could be issued. “If this happens one more time, then you’re out!” If there is evidence that it did happen the following month, you really do have to evict them now. If not, what is the purpose of these monthly inspections anyway? Inspections are not meant to paint the owners into a corner. At the end of the day, you want paying tenants to stay, right?
Inspections can be useful. However, even the Ingalls’s wouldn’t think it was rude if you stopped by on a much less regular basis!
Brett Furniss is the President & Owner of BDF Realty (“Charlotte’s Most Innovative Property Management & Investment Company”), and Rent-To-Sell Realty (“When You Need a New Solution to Sell Your Home”) which specialize in rent-to-own (lease options) and rent-to-sell homes. You can contact him directly at [email protected]. For a FREE subscription to “Charlotte Property Management Weekly” visit http://www.BDFRealty.com/Blog.php.
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