suspicious one of your tenants is breaking the lease’s pet policy. Maybe you
just haven’t checked in with them for a while.
If so, you may
ask yourself: can a landlord do random inspections? Well,
the answer isn’t an easy yes or no.
As a landlord,
you can drive by, walk by, or bicycle by your property anytime. But you cannot
walk into the property unannounced. We’re here to walk you through the do’s and
don’ts of landlord inspections.
Reasons to Inspect an Apartment
inspections need to be performed for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at
those situations in which you can legally enter and inspect an apartment.
might ask you to service or repair something. Typically, landlords are only
permitted to enter the premises during "reasonable hours.” That varies from
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. is usually considered reasonable. Those hours are
within normal business operating hours.
However, when a
repair is specifically requested by the tenant, you can enter and perform the
necessary service at any hour that is mutually agreed upon.
In a scenario
where the tenant has not requested maintenance or repair, but you still need to
perform it, give them 24-48 (dependent on state and local law) hours’ notice of
your arrival. Additionally, make sure to come at a time that falls within the
scope of "reasonable hours.”
Alterations, or Improvements
do random inspections to address the aesthetic? As a landlord, you have the
right to make aesthetic changes as you see fit. This is different from
maintenance or repairs. That’s because it’s not something that you need to do
to maintain the unit’s habitability.
you might want to repaint the front porch or install new light fixtures. In
these cases, stick to the "reasonable hours” rule. Make sure to give your
tenant proper notice.
You have the
right to show the unit to prospective tenants. Again, be sure to notify your
tenants in advance. This gives them the opportunity to ensure that they’re out
of the apartment during showings or give the unit a good once-over, if
Keep in mind,
with millions of Americans working from home due to COVID-19, it may be
difficult to schedule a showing during the workday. If that’s the case, you’ll
need to work with your tenants to schedule a time that works for them without
disturbing their work. You could also "show” prospective tenants your available
units via3D apartment tours.
Though you may
have done your due diligence, there’s always the chance that you may have a
tenant that is egregiously committing lease violations. Whether you suspect
there’s an illegal subletter on the premises or that your tenant has willfully
ignored your no-pet policy, you have a right to check it out.
As it goes for
all instances in which you may want to enter the unit, give notice. If you find
that your tenant is committing lease violations, you may need to serve a notice to quit.
for landlords to conduct move-out inspections to assess the damage if any, that the last tenant is responsible for. Your
findings will dictate how much of a tenant’s security deposit you’ll refund
back to them.
inspections enable landlords to confirm the condition of their unit. Then, they
can make any necessary repairs before their new tenant officially moves in.
previous reasons to perform an apartment inspection were very clear, there are
also extenuating circumstances in which an inspection can be legally performed.
Court Orders: If
you’ve obtained a legal order granting you permission to inspect one of your
units, then you can legally perform the inspection. Typically, the order may
stipulate a specific date and time that you can perform the inspection.
Tenant Abandonment: Keep
in mind that the requirements to be considered "abandonment of a property” are
different state by state. If a unit has been abandoned, you’ll need to remove
any remaining possessions. Be sure to document the abandonment.
Tenant Violation of Health/Safety Codes: Not only does this put the tenant
and others at risk, but it can also lead to significant damage to your property
in the form of a pest infestation.
In Case of an Emergency: For example, a fire, gas leak, water leak, burst
pipes, or an extreme weather event that may threaten the safety of your tenant
gives you license to make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.
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Friday, 24 September 2021