Updated July 7, 2022.
You’ve invested a lot of money in purchasing and maintaining your real estate investment in the Baltimore area! You want to ensure that anyone who is using it is doing so with care. However, that’s not always easy to do without performing inspections.
A multitude of reasons exists for requiring inspections. How can you do them properly—and ensure you are spotting any potential concerns—while still considering your renter's privacy? Tune into these tips from a Maryland property management expert to make better decisions during inspections.
Please note: This article is not intended to be used as direct legal counsel. When in doubt, you should always reach out to your attorney or the experts at Renters Warehouse!
What Are Your Rights to Inspecting Property?
When working with a Baltimore property manager, it is possible to create an ironclad lease before you ever place your renters that ensures inspections for your rental property are protected. This binding contract may even spell out when you can inspect the investment property, how you can enter, and how much notice your renters get.
- It is a good rule of thumb to check Maryland rental laws to ensure you know what your rights are in this area or to work with an attorney or skilled property manager.
- Inspections for rental housing are precise when it comes to state laws. Yet, you do have the right to your property within these rules.
- On top of state law, it's also worth investigating whether your requirements run afoul of any rental laws in Baltimore or at the federal level.
It's better to be safe than sorry in any legal matter concerning your Baltimore rental properties!
When Should You Complete Inspections?
Once you know you can inspect your Baltimore rental property, the question becomes, 'When should you?' Inspections should happen at various times during a lease, including the following.
Moving into the property is a big step for most new renters. This is a crucial time to talk to them about the condition of the property. As an expert in Maryland property management, we definitely place special emphasis on this inspection as setting the baseline standard of care you expect from your renters.
- Both parties should walk through the property together to examine it at the same time (while keeping social distancing in mind).
- You should inspect the property before the renter moves into it during your Makeready Process, take photos if possible, and document any noticeable areas of concern.
- You also want to then sign, date, and record move-in paperwork with the new renter to ensure everyone is on the same page.
There are various times when you may want to check the property's condition during the leasing period. Your rental agreement should outline how frequently these should happen as a routine process.
- This agreement may include every six months, for example, starting three months after the lease is signed.
- This walkthrough allows you to pinpoint any concerns about how the renter is taking care of the property.
If you need to inspect the property at any time in between these expected inspections, it is essential to provide proper notice to the renter, according to the terms of the lease.
When a renter is leaving as the lease has expired, another inspection is necessary. During this process, you need to document every detail of the property in the same manner you did during the move-in inspection.
- Document the condition of the property with photos to show the damages.
- The key here is to spot areas of damage that are beyond normal wear and tear, such as damage to carpeting, walls, appliances, or other fixtures.
- You may also need to consider any damage to the heating and cooling systems, exterior property, and plumbing.
What Is Normal Wear and Tear in a Rental?
The hard task during a move-out inspection is knowing what is beyond ordinary or expected wear and tear. Normal wear and tear may include things like a few small stains on the carpeting or dirty grout. More extensive damage may consist of holes in the wall, broken fixtures, smashed mirrors, or doors with holes. Imagine what could happen just living there—and compare that to what may happen if someone is not taking proper care of your rental properties.
In situations where there is significant damage beyond expectation, it may become necessary to apply those damages to a deposit you have on the property. This assessment requires careful accounting of the damages and the costs associated with each.
Make Inspections Easy With Maryland Property Management!
Property inspections are complex and a bit daunting when it comes to managing rental real estate.
- While you should discuss damage openly with your renters, you should never confront them in-person.
- You also need to be sure they understand the consequences of damages or poor property care, as outlined in the lease.
Instead of doing this yourself, it's a saving grace for many investors to turn to the skills of a professional with longstanding experience in the industry, like our trained Rent Estate™ Advisors!
Hiring a Maryland property management expert like Renters Warehouse to handle these tasks for you frees up your time—and ensures you perform inspections according to your lease and local laws.
Making the right decisions for your Baltimore rental homes as a property owner is critical to sustainable, long-term growth! Our team at Renters Warehouse BW Metro can help you manage inspections from move-in to move-out with ease.
However, this is not the only element of property care that we cover for you as your partner! To learn more about what we check for during the makeready process before we ever place a renter, download your free copy of our Makeready Checklist!
You can also use this for your properties to gain professional insight into how to conduct your walkthroughs.