9 Tips When You Visit Your Rental

A landlord is about to make their first interior visit to their rental property with this set of renters. This same landlord wanted to know, what should be the goal of the visit? Is the goal just to do a visual check that nothing is falling apart, to verify that there are no unauthorized animals, a meth lab, or anything else that should not be there?

Here are nine tips from fellow landlords, including what to look for and/or bring with you. Start with sending a short note leading up to the visit.

  1. Send a friendly letter/email that reads something similar to:  “Dear Bob Smith, I’m Mike, the new manager. It’s time for our quarterly/semi-annual/annual maintenance check up. We want your home to work well for you! I’ll come by on _______________ at ___ PM. Please be present or have a friend or family member available to allow access at that time. If this time doesn’t work, please contact me no less than 24 hours prior to the appointment to reschedule. Thanks, Mike the Manager.”
  2. The “official” reason to do an inside inspection is to change furnace filters and check for leaks, which I do. The side benefit is to find the unauthorized boyfriend/girlfriend/pets and to assess damages. If there are any unauthorized guests, before you simply allow them to stay, be sure to run at least an eviction and criminal check on them. For a service which offers instant and inexpensive credit checks, you can call toll-free 1-888-294-4640.
  3. Check the “wet” spots. Bring a flashlight to look under sinks, around the tub, in the laundry room, or by the water heater. Water can cause massive damage, and often residents fail to notice or report it.
  4. While you’re there, check to see if the walls are painted black or if there are any other alterations to the premises. Bring a camera or your smart phone to take pictures.
  5. Check your furnace/AC unit. Check the furnace filter (bring some filters to install if needed).
  6. Check the smoke alarms (and bring batteries with you).
  7. Ask for access to every room to see if the residents are hoarding anything.
  8. Check for pets or “stray” animals. Smell or look for litter boxes/food/water bowls.
  9. Bring a plant as a house warming gift.


(That Could Have Been Avoided)

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It does you no good to increase your rent by $500 or $1,000 during the year at one property, only to

to discover that you lost thousands of dollars at another rental property. One landlord admits that he made a BIG mistake not running credit and eviction reports before a renter moved in.

Then came a landlord’s worst nightmare; having a tenant not pay rent and then trash the property.

That’s a reality for one Sioux Falls landlord. From full, unflushed toilets, to broken doors and windows, the property owner estimates there was about $10,000 worth of damage to his property and says this is not the first time these tenants have done something like this. According to a news story of the account, the problem was that the landlord did not do a full credit and eviction report before accepting the renter. Running the reports may have helped the landlord avoid $10,000 damage. Folks, it’s not worth the gamble; always run a credit and eviction report.


The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected].  To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at www.LandlordingAdvice.com, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.