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Rental Property Inspections: What Landlords Need to Know

what you need to know about property inspections in Jacksonville, FL

Many landlords rarely inspect their rental properties, except during move-in or move-out.  While this is the most crucial time to check the units, periodic inspections inside and outside can deter significant issues, identify maintenance needs, and keep the property in good condition.

To avoid long-term issues, landlords must conduct inspections regularly. You should conduct routine checks throughout the year, every six months, or every year depending on the agreement in place with the tenant.

How Often Should a Landlord Inspect Their Properties?

With proper planning, creating a property management plan makes it easy to schedule inspections. The arrangement includes coordinating the work to inspect all your units simultaneously and putting a schedule in place for emergencies or unusual situations.

It goes without saying that being a landlord is time and labor-intensive. Perhaps you could use a proactive, local property manager in Jacksonville who could take that burden off your shoulders. Real Property Management Sunstate here in Jacksonville leads the way in making sure your home is safe and meets the housing code requirements in Florida among other things.

So, what should a good property inspection include?

Exterior Inspections Should Include

  • an exterior check of the roof
  • windows
  • mailboxes
  • doors and locks
  • intercoms
  • security gates
  • playgrounds
  • pools
  • loose handrails and railings
  • cracks in concrete sidewalks

exterior property inspection factors you need to consider

For multifamily units or commercial properties, inspections of indoor public areas include:

  • the lobby
  • laundry rooms
  • fitness rooms

In addition to regularly checking for damages or wear-and-tear, an exterior inspection should also include checking for loose handrails and railings, along with cracks in concrete sidewalks.

There is no standard inspection frequency when it comes to inspections.  Lack of standard is due to size, age of the property, traffic, and amenities.

Some properties, though, may need inspections more often than others for you to see what areas are in good condition or decline.

We here at Real Property Management Sunstate are responsible for conducting inspections periodically to maintain a property’s condition for our clients, provide tenants with safety information, and protect our owners from legal liability.

It is essential that property management plans are in place before either you as the landlord or a property manager undertake any inspection tasks and what the property inspections include. While all this may sound overwhelming, the good news is that Real Property Management Sunstate can play a vital role in managing your property and maximizing your profits.

What Should Landlords Check When Inspecting Their Rentals?

A good property manager will develop standard property inspection procedures and schedules and create customized reports for the owner to acquire immediate feedback on their property.

The Purpose of Regular Property Inspections

  • Discovering property defects and property improvement needs that will protect the property owner from liability
  • Determine what repair work needs to be performed and when and who will complete it
  • Maintaining property conditions to avoid deferred costly repairs

For inspections to serve their purpose, consistent assessments must be conducted. Landlords should develop standard property inspection procedures and schedules. Any updates or changes to the unit should be noted, who performed the work, and the completion date.

If a property manager were doing the inspection, they should create customized reports for owners to receive immediate feedback on their investment property at any time.

Regular Property Inspection Reports Should Include

  • A property condition summary that includes a list of all deficiencies or property repairs needed, as well as pictures of the property’s interior and exterior
  • A property inspection checklist
  • Information on property defects
  • Information on property improvements

It is also essential for landlords to document the date of all property inspections in case an issue arises down the road.

What a Landlord Cannot Do

Communication is essential when you are conducting inspections.  Landlords should communicate his findings to the tenant on a need-to-know basis. Failure to communicate pertinent information can result in problems between owners and tenants.

Respect a tenant’s privacy and environment. Always check in with your renter before conducting an inspection, so they know you will be coming in and out of their unit during inspection times. The property manager or landlord must give the tenant reasonable time and notice to enter the premises.

A good practice is to include the inspection schedule in the lease.  Quarterly visits or a half-year visit is plenty unless there are red flags.

Inspections should never be scheduled on holidays, weekends, or after 5 pm.

Different states and cities may have different rules and regulations regarding how often a landlord should conduct an inspection. Still, in Jacksonville, the tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to inspect the premises. A reasonable notice to the tenant to make repairs is defined as 12 hours before entry.

Stay current with local laws and regulations in Jacksonville to ensure your inspections follow all rules and procedures.

routine maintenance inspection being performed on rental property

7-Point Property Inspection Wrap Up

  1. By performing property inspections regularly, the property manager is better at helping owners ensure their tenants’ needs are met.
  2. Regular inspections should be conducted at least once every six months. A good practice is to inspect the property more often in certain situations (e.g., water damage or high turnover rates).
  3. Landlords need to document the date of all inspections in case an issue comes up down the road between landlord and tenant.
  4. Inspections should never be conducted on holidays, weekends, or after 5 pm unless circumstances prevail.
  5. When communicating inspection findings, be sure to respect a tenant’s privacy and the environment by checking with them first before entering their unit. Giving your tenant a reasonable amount of notice and time to prepare is professional and respectful.
  6. It’s a good idea to include inspection schedules in the lease agreement. Quarterly or half-year inspections are usually sufficient unless there is cause for concern. In Jacksonville, tenants cannot unreasonably withhold consent from their landlords for entering their units. A reasonable notice to perform an inspection is 12 hours before entry.
  7. Landlords should stay current on local laws and regulations of how they conduct inspections to ensure they are following all the proper rules and procedures.

The easiest solution for Jacksonville landlords to reduce their stress level is to work with a professional property management company to keep up with scheduled inspections, maintenance and repairs.

Let Real Property Management Sunstate Take Care of your Property Inspections

As an experienced Jacksonville property management company, Real Property Management Sunstate has the local expertise and proven track record you want so you can trust that we really keep on top of your investment property.

For more information about how the Real Property Management Sunstate team can help with regular inspections, maintenance schedules and more, contact us online or call us at 877-373-8404.

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