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Inspections can be a complicated business. The topic came up in an owner meeting the other day, and it’s important that we’re transparent with landlords and owners about inspections and how often you should be willing to conduct them.

How Often Should I Inspect My Rental Property?

Our property management team in Orlando does regular inspections, but not too regularly!

The owner I was talking to said he required monthly inspections. I explained to him why that was impractical. The tenant has a right to quiet enjoyment in Florida. This is in the lease, and it’s also written into the landlord and tenant laws in this state. Inspecting every month could be seen as harassing to the tenant. But, this owner was adamant. I told him we would be willing to do his monthly inspections if he would commit to making the list and taking the trip.

Making the List and Taking the Trip

The puzzled owner asked what I was talking about. I explained that every single time we do these inspections, without fail, every single time, the same thing tends to happen. The result is a list of things that need to be done and supplies that need to be bought at the hardware store. Whether you like it or not, every time we go to a property and do an inspection and the tenant is there, a list of repairs will come out of it, and we have to start contacting vendors for quotes. It might be a list including blinds, bulbs, tiles, fans, and maybe something in the yard or a broken latch on the door. Everything costs money. So when owners tell me they want inspections, they expect that the inspections will be free because we don’t charge for them and thus there is no implications for them. However, there are still significant costs. As a landlord, you need to think about the hidden costs of a property inspection.

Property Inspection Costs

Potential costs to making the list and taking the trip include supplies and hardware. You’ll need to hire vendors to do repairs. What if you don’t do the requested maintenance? If a landlord says no, hidden costs will show up later. The tenant could withhold rent after becoming frustrated that repairs have been reported but not completed. The first thing tenants always feel they should do is withhold rent to register their objection. This might put them in breach of their lease, but they don’t care. They’re making a point, and you aren’t getting your money. There are also costs like having to serve notices for late rent, making phone calls to chase the rent, or filing for an eviction.

This is why inspections need to be structured and conducted at reasonable intervals. You need to notify the tenants in advance. Remember that inspections don’t solve all problems. You can inspect every month and still not be able to prevent a tenant’s job loss or a disagreement with a partner or some other event that could lead to property damage. Look at the bigger picture. Yes, we want to do them, but it can add to your costs and reduce your bottom line. The owner I was speaking to was not willing to make the list and take the trip. It’s unfair to expect the property manager to take the arguments and grief from the tenants who are dissatisfied with the number of inspections or the lack of repairs after the inspections.
We believe in being truthful and transparent. If you have any questions about inspections or anything pertaining to Orlando property management, please contact us at Warner Quinlan Property Management.