As a landlord, one of your main duties is to conduct frequent property inspections. The question is: how frequent is too frequent?
See, being the owner doesn't mean you can inspect your rental at any time. For starters, California law limits the number of inspections you can conduct. On top of that, constant inspections can alienate your tenants.
So, how often should you conduct your rental property inspections? To answer that, let's go over what the law and landlord code say about it.
Purpose of Inspection
In California, landlords can't enter a rental solely to conduct an inspection. If you want to inspect your property, you'll need a purpose to justify it.
For example, you can always do move-in and move-out inspections. These allow you to see how your tenant cared for your property. You can also do a pre-move-out inspection to give the tenant time to remedy any issues.
The rental property inspection timeline can also include routine inspections. This depends on what's written in the lease agreement. Most landlords conduct these inspections quarterly or seasonally.
Rental property maintenance can also be a valid reason to enter a property. This includes pest control, safety inspections of smoke alarms, and so on.
Regardless of the inspection's purpose, you must conduct it professionally. Even if you're friends with your tenant, nobody enjoys announced visits.
First, let your tenant know when they can expect inspections to occur. The ideal time to do so is just before they sign the lease agreement. Ensure the lease includes provisions for inspection times and notifications.
Before conducting an inspection, let your tenant know about it. In California, you need to provide written notice at least 48 hours before the inspection.
While inspecting the rental, bring a rental property inspection checklist with you. If you notice any concerns, discuss them in a professional manner. If you're happy with the state of the property, let the tenant know about it!
The Right to Privacy
Abiding by rental property inspection laws is only one side of the equation. The other side is the tenant's right to privacy and quiet enjoyment.
See, there's a fine line between being a concerned owner and a nosy intruder. If you inspect the rental too often, the tenant may hold it against you. As the saying goes, "Do to others as you would have them do unto you."
Let's say your tenant hands you a move-out notice. In this case, you'd show the property to other potential renters while the tenant is still there. If so, doing it a few times per week is far more sensible than daily showings.
More About Rental Property Inspections
The bottom line: rental property inspections are tricky to get right. Conduct them too often, and you risk annoying your tenants. Leave the tenants to their own devices, and your rental could deteriorate in a hurry.
Looking for professional help with your landlord duties? If you're situated in Antioch, CA, our experts at Blue Line Property Management can help! Contact us here to learn more about our property management services.