Owning rental properties comes with a variety of challenges, not the least of which is starting and maintaining a positive relationship with your tenants. From an owner or property managers point of view, you want your tenants to rent your units, enjoy their experience in their unit, and have as few issues as possible during their tenancy. The tenants want to be sure they have a safe place to live and store their belongings, are able to utilize all of the features and amenities of the property and unit, and also to have as few issues as possible during their tenancy. Both sides have a vested interest in ensuring their homes have as few issues as possible and one way that this can be done is through conducting a proper set of property inspections.
Performing proper property inspections will allow for both sides to set out the expectations and conditions of the relationship while also keeping an eye on the state and condition of the unit throughout the tenancy. It also gives tenants an opportunity to have a face-to-face interaction with the inspectors where they can inform them of any issues which may not be immediately visible with the naked eye such as issues with noise and/or other tenants.
Here are some tips on how you can perform unit inspections that can help foster a positive relationship with your tenants and also mitigate some of the risks that come with owning and managing rental properties:
1) Start the relationship off on the right foot with a proper move-in inspection. This allows both you and the tenant to inspect all of the areas and components inside the unit and document their condition at the time that the tenant is occupying the unit. This lets both sides know what condition the unit is expected to be returned in at the end of the tenancy, identify any defects so that they are not held against the new tenant, and also lets the tenant ask any questions they have about their new home. It’s easier to get along when both sides know all of the expectations and obligations.
2) Make sure to give adequate notice to tenants before entering their units. Ensure you are clear with any and all obligations you have regarding how much notice is required before you enter an occupied unit. Not doing so will not only give tenants a poor impression of your company and staff but can also lead to serious legal issues regarding privacy laws. Check with your local regulation body for clarity if you are unsure.
3) Encourage tenants to be present during unit inspections where possible. This gives tenants the ability to bring to your staff's attention any issues that may not be visible but it allows them to build a relationship with the tenant and having a good relationship at the site level means tenants will be more willing to work with you in a positive way should any issues be encountered.
4) Explain why an inspection is necessary as clearly as possible. When possible outline the point and purpose of any inspection on the notice letter you deliver to the tenants so they are clear why it is happening and don’t feel singled out or that they have done something wrong. Tenants may not be aware of your obligations to inspect units and may feel like they are being inspected because of how they are caring for the unit or for any other reason. When tenants know what you are inspecting and why it will put them at ease and they will be more likely to keep their unit in good condition and not give staff a hard time.
5) Be aware of the laws governing photographing items inside occupied units. Some jurisdictions forbid the taking of photographs inside of units while they are occupied with tenant belongings to ensure their privacy is respected and maintained. Some jurisdictions will allow photographs to be taken if the tenants give their consent but you’ll need to check with your regulator body to receive clarity prior to taking any photos. Tenants will be wary of where those photographs end up and will want to be assured that they are only for documentation purposes and not that they are being judged.
6) Do not be confrontational with tenants. Taking pride in your property may cause staff to react negatively or angrily with tenants who damage property or keep their unit in a state that can impact the other tenants in the property. Do not react to the tenants while inspecting their unit, any actions that need to be taken should be done in a private setting in accordance with company policies and procedures. If the tenants are unhappy for any reason, ask them to put any complaints or requests in writing so that everything is properly documented and can be addressed in a suitable form.
By following these simple guidelines you can ensure that you are doing all that is possible to gain and maintain the respect of your tenants as well as a positive relationship. Having a positive relationship can also foster an attitude whereby tenants are more inclined to take better care of their units and abide by all rules and regulations at the property. From the move-in inspection to annual inspections, and finally the move-out inspections, they all play a huge role in ensuring that everything remains on an even keel and the relationship is a positive one throughout its lifecycle.
SuiteSpot’s mobile inspections provide all of the tools required to conduct and manage inspections and their related processes. Standardized inspection templates ensure each type of inspection is performed in a consistent manner across your portfolio and our robust analytics engine allows you to forecast renovation costs to build budgets based on the most recent inspection of a unit.