Do You Want Interior Property Inspections
As a residential property management company, we will perform periodic interior inspections of the properties we manage. However, we will generally only perform interior inspections of a tenant occupied property upon the request of the owner.
Years ago we use to provide interior and exterior inspections for all of our clients’ properties, whether or not they were occupied. But what we found is that although many of our property management clients wanted and expected us to complete interior inspections of their properties, there were others that demanded we avoid them at all costs.
I believe most investment property owners understand the rationale of performing interior inspections of a rental property. However, it surprised me to find out why certain property management clients did not want us to perform any inspections, particularly interior inspections. It was because they were concerned about the costs associated with the inevitable repairs that stem from the inspections.
If you understand the process of an interior inspection, then you will likely understand their concerns. When a unit is occupied, and a property management company wants to perform an interior inspection, the tenant must be given reasonable advance notice. This allows the tenant to not only arrange to be present, but also to prepare. Inevitably a part of that preparation includes the tenant drafting a laundry list of items that they want the landlord to repair or in some cases upgrade. This list, and the costs associated with it, is what the landlords that don’t want interior inspections are trying to avoid.
One common example of an item that often becomes a point of contention between our southern California property management clients and their tenants is the air conditioner. We have performed many interior inspections over the years only to leave the meeting with a request from the tenant to ask the landlord to replace (not repair) the air conditioner because it does not cool down the home as quickly and as well as the tenant believes it should. This can grow into a contentious exchange between the tenant and property owner if and when the property owner refuses the request.
A personal observation I have made over the years is that property management clients that requested no interior inspections be performed are generally real estate investors and often have multiple properties. They tend to make each decision regarding their investment properties on a purely business basis, without emotion. For example, when we would prepare one of their properties to rent, they would decide the flooring they wanted to install based on what made the most financial sense. This meant that rather than installing carpet in their rentals, they generally opted for flooring with a long natural life such as wood laminate or tile.
On the other hand, I have found that those property management clients that desire interior inspections are generally those individuals that are not in the rental property business by design and the rental is more than just an investment. Often the rental is their former home and they intend to one day move back into it, or they have inherited the home that has sentimental value from someone who was important in their lives.
These individuals want their property management company to make frequent visits to view the interior of the home to make sure it is being well maintained. Generally, these clients welcome the laundry list of items that the tenant presents to be repaired because they take pride in the property.
I do understand that these two classifications of clients are generalizations and many exceptions are surely to exist, however I thought it would be useful to look into possible reasons why two similar investment property owners would have completely different views on the issue of interior inspections. At the end of the day, neither view is “better” than the other. Instead this message is to simply encourage you to tell your property management company if and when you would like your property inspected.