The Landlord’s Guide To Rental Inspections And Tenant Accountability In Salt Lake

When it comes to inspections, we always tell property owners that the most important interaction with tenants is the walk through inspection.

This happens once you have collected the security deposit and the lease is signed.

Most property owners miss this important step, but without a complete move-in inspection report, it’s difficult to hold your tenants accountable for the condition of the property at the end of their lease.

The Landlord’s Guide To Rental Inspections And Tenant Accountability In Salt Lake

The Move-In Inspection

Make sure to have a standardized inspection form for this part of the process. It helps to make sure you’re consistent with each of your properties, and that the record of the property’s condition is well documented at the start of the tenancy. This form also serves as a reference point throughout the lease and during the move-out inspection.

What happens during a move-in inspection?

The move-in inspection is where you’ll walk through the property with the tenant, and allow them to actively participate in the process. This collaborative approach will ensure both parties come to agreement on the property’s condition.

When you go through each area, document any existing damage or issues. If you find minor problems during this part of the inspection, you may want to address them soon. Creating a work order and fixing the issues immediately can actually go a long way to build respect and trust with your new tenant.

How often should a landlord inspect a rental property in Salt Lake City?

This is a question we often hear at Advanced Solutions Property Management, and our standard response is this: regular inspections throughout the lease period are important to ensure lease compliance, and maintain the good condition of the property.

There are a few quick external checks you can complete during a monthly drive-by inspection:

  • A large number of cars parked outside the property
  • Visible damage to the exterior of the property
  • General cleanliness and maintenance of the landscaping
  • Aluminum foil on the windows

These quick inspections will help you find potential problems early and address them with the tenant quickly.

The Move-Out Inspection

When the lease is finished, this is when you’ll want to conduct a full move-out inspection, using the same form you used during the move-in inspection.

However, this time the landlord or property manager will hold the form and lead the inspection process.

Note any changes between the current condition and the state of the property during move-in, and indicate damages and cleaning issues on the checklist. Be as detailed and thorough as possible, documenting everything from the cleanliness of the carpet to the condition of the window coverings.

What are some common issues found during move-out inspections?

We recommend having a standardized price list for the common damages and cleaning issues during the move-out process, which can help streamline the process of deducting the costs from the security deposit.

This list should be incorporated into your inspection form, and help tenants understand the costs incurred from damage or inadequate cleaning.

Here are some of the common issues we find:

  • Carpet damage and stains
  • Wall damage like scuffs, holes and unapproved paint
  • Broken window blinds
  • Broken light fixtures

By clearly documenting any of these issues (or others you discover) and having the costs for repairs and cleaning recorded, you create a clear process that can help reduce any disputes or misunderstandings with tenants.

What are the benefits of rental property inspections for landlords in SLC?

There are several advantages we see with thorough and regular inspections:

  • Helps to maintain the property’s good condition
  • Reduces the chance of disputes over deductions to the deposit
  • Sets clear and realistic expectations for tenants over care of the property
  • Allows for quick identification and resolution of problems

How can a property management company help with rental inspections?

While it’s true that individual rental property owners can implement all of the above inspections, we think the expertise that a Salt Lake City property management company can offer is invaluable. They will typically have:

  • Established inspection procedures
  • Standardized checklists and forms
  • Knowledge of Utah rental laws and regulations, especially concerning inspections and security deposits
  • Experience with assessing the property’s condition

Also, because we’re a third party, a property manager can provide a completely objective perspective, which helps in keeping a professional relationship between you the property owner, and then tenant.

Implementing standardized inspection practices can help property owners better protect their investments, ensure fair treatment of each tenant, and hopefully leave a great rental experience for all parties involved.

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