I am surprised by how many inspections we have every month. Either Section 8 inspections, rental license (rental property inspections). Because of our heavy concentrations of Minneapolis rental properties, it seems like we are prepping for an inspection every week! Here are some tips and tricks to putting your best foot forward and making the process a little easier:
- Always have someone from your company attend the inspection. Even if the tenant is going to be home, it is best to have you or your handyman attend the inspection so you understand what the inspector is looking for. One example is a recent inspection on a 5 unit apartment building in Minneapolis we did where the inspection report we received said “Repair/Remove Water Damaged Surfaces”. No other info! So what does that mean? If you are there for inspection, you can get the details.
- Even if you are doing the inspections prep and repairs yourself, prepare a document of your most common items that you want to review. Section 8 has a nice list of commonly failed items here.
- Get in your units a couple of days to a week prior to the inspection. Fix the small stuff such as smoke detectors, missing bulbs, loose handrails that should be fixed anyway, but also you hate to fail an inspection and have to come back for a dead battery in a smoke detector. This is also a great opportunity to change furnace filters, put new batteries in smoke and CO2 detectors and tighten door knobs.
- Take notes of any tenant caused damage and charge that back to the tenant. This requires a process and training your maintenance guys, but why does the landlord have to pay for a screen damaged by the tenant?
- If you fail items, discussion timelines and reinspection requirements with inspector. Often exterior work can be delayed till the weather warms up. Occasionally, simple items can be reinspected or signed off by sending in a receipt or sending a photo to the inspector. Makes it easier than having to schedule a follow-up inspection for a missing window lock.
- While this may seem counterintuitive, a recently had a Section 8 inspector tell me that if the property has been seriously damaged by the tenant that we should do no pre-inspection work and let it fail. His position was that if the unit previously passed and now there are broken doors, damaged screens and the place is a mess, this will alert the Section 8 coordinator that the tenant is the problem, not the owner or property.
Having a game plan for Section 8 and rental license inspections can make the process easier and less chaotic. Using a property management company like Rental Management Guys can also make these easier as we handle the entire process for you.