Ideally, a good renter will take care of your Baltimore MD property. However, some renters neglect a rental until it becomes untenable, unhealthy, or uncomfortable to live in. As a single-family or multi family property owner, being proactive about maintaining your rental property and conducting regular inspections ensures that you learn about and fix any damages quickly.
How often should you inspect a property to make sure it's in excellent condition year-round? Our Baltimore City property management experts recommend a consistent schedule of routine inspections to set the standard of care for your rentals and identify potentially costly maintenance problems before they get to that point. Here's what you need to know!
Why Baltimore City Rental Property Inspections Are Important
Periodically inspecting a Baltimore property helps investors catch minor problems before they become large ones that are costly to fix. If you never lay eyes on your rental after a resident moves in, you put your property at risk of maintenance problems that go unreported for too long and turn into more extensive damage. Routine inspections also give rental property owners an opportunity to monitor resident behavior and make sure they follow the rules.
Without inspecting rental properties at least twice a year, investors might also miss unauthorized pets in the property (or "guests" that have moved in long-term). These are lease violations that can lead to property damage or other liabilities for real estate investors.
What Types of Baltimore Property Inspections Do Investors Need?
Knowing that you should be reviewing properties on-site at least twice a year, what type of rental inspections do you need to conduct? Baltimore City property management experts recommend pre-scheduled inspections to help minimize inconveniences to residents while keeping an eye on our rentals. Inspections should start before new renters move in, take place mid-lease, and again when a renter moves out or renews the lease.
Rental property owners conduct this inspection after completing the make-ready process and before new renters move in. Walking through the rental's interior and around the exterior allows rental property owners to document the condition of a rental before residents move in. At this time, everything in the rental is clean, painted, repaired, and in prime working order to welcome new residents.
Your goal is to have an accurate picture of the property before residents move in or potentially cause any damage. Baltimore City property management experts also recommend using this inspection is also a point of reference for future reviews for ongoing monitoring of your rental's condition. Save this documentation to compare to your rental after renters move out.
While Baltimore City property owners can hope that rental is in the same pristine condition before move in as it is when residents leave the property, that's rarely the case. Most renters take good care of rental homes. However, even if wear-and-tear is the only issue you see during the move-out inspection, it's essential to note needed repairs, deep cleaning, and other issues the rental needs to get it ready again for new residents.
When residents vacate the unit, walk through the rental again (inside and out) and compare the condition to your documented move-in inspection. Document anything that needs repairs and deducts from the security deposit, then inform the prior residents about why they won't get their full deposit back. Work with a Baltimore property management company to understand the difference between wear and tear and damage related to the security deposit.
This inspection takes place every six months from the time a renter occupies a unit. Before conducting this inspection, real estate investment owners must serve adequate notice that they'll be on the property for the mid-lease inspection. This inspection is an excellent time to check in with your Baltimore renters, ask if they have any issues you can take care of, and look for lease violations that need to be addressed.
Choosing to skip the mid-lease inspection can lead to missed opportunities to fix minor issues that can later become costly problems. It's also a critical time to enforce the lease with Baltimore City renters.
Bonus Property Management Inspection: The Drive-By
While Baltimore property owners must follow landlord-tenant laws when giving notice to enter a property, they don't have to alert residents if they don't plan to walk the property or enter it. Random "drive-by" inspections are an excellent way to get a look at your rentals without a formal pre-scheduled inspection.
Be careful about too many drive-bys. While it's essential to check on your Baltimore MD property if you're concerned about extra tenants or unapproved activities, renters have a right to privacy. They can be uncomfortable or take legal action if you visit the rental too often to "check-in" without notice.
Protect Your Investments With Property Management and Inspections
As a real estate investment owner, you can protect your Baltimore property with regular inspections. Reduce the potential for significant repairs or unchecked lease violations with a regular schedule of inspections outlined in the lease agreement. If you don't have time for these critical property reviews or you don't live near your rentals, a Baltimore property management team can handle inspections for you! Reach out to Renters Warehouse BW/Metro property managers to learn how we can keep an eye on your rentals to protect your investments.
What else do investors need to know to minimize risks? Find out in our free eBook, "Protecting Your Investment Property: A Guide."