Your real estate investments are an important part of your life, and it’s natural to want to keep on top of things through property inspections – knowing when and how to perform inspections on your properties can be a very tricking thing to navigate, especially for first time landlords. There are a number of legal and ethical considerations that must be followed by Ontario landlords when deciding when and how often to perform inspections.
What do I need to know about inspections as a landlord?
Before you decide when and how often you should be performing property inspections, it’s important to understand the legal considerations that must be followed by all Ontario landlords. The Residential Tenancies Act states that landlords must give notice of at least 24 hours before entering a tenants unit for things like repairs, mortgage and insurance viewings, and inspections held by the landlord for the purpose of ensuring that the property is in a good state of repair and health and safety standards are being upheld. The only time a landlord is allowed to enter a property without notice is in an emergency situation, to show the apartment after a tenancy has been terminated, or if a tenant consents to entry.
Should I conduct inspections during the tenancy?
The first question to ask yourself before outlining your tenancy agreements or speaking with potential tenants is how often you want to be visiting your property in order to perform inspections. Informing your potential tenants that you may conduct regular, reasonable inspections during their tenancy may deter them from damaging the property or violating conditions of the agreement – but it also may serve to alienate them or feel that you do not trust them in your property.
If your tenant agrees with hosting regular inspections, then it may be wise for you to conduct them only if you are given reason to do so – things like suspicious activity, reports from other tenants and neighbours, or legitimate reason to believe that damage has been done or conditions of the agreement have been broken. A great way to ensure minimal inspection visits to your property is by effectively screening tenants – this will help you to avoid choosing a bad tenant who may warrant regular inspections, and instead choose tenant(s) who you can trust without constantly performing inspections and worrying about the state of your property.
Property inspections during move-in and move-out
One of the best times to conduct an inspection of your property is during both the move-in and move-out process. A move-in inspection allows you to take stock of what condition the property is in when a new tenant first moves in – looking for any damages or issues that should be addressed early on in the tenancy. A move-out inspection allows you to compare the state of the property at the end of the tenancy with the results from your move-in inspection. If any major damages have taken place during the tenancy without your prior knowledge, this step will allow you to address them before the tenant leaves the property. No matter how often you decide to perform inspections on your rental properties, it’s recommended that you consider move-in and move-out inspections for every new tenant, which include time-stamped photographs of the unit.
The role of property managers
The most effective way to solve the issue of performing inspections in a proactive manner is by hiring the services of experienced property management companies like Highgate Properties. Our property management experts take care of your day-to-day landlord duties, knowing what potential red flags to look for when screening tenants, and ensuring that your property is maintained and treated respectfully by all tenants who occupy it. In addition, we know what the laws are about property inspections and will ensure that they are adhered to. Free yourself up for the more important things in your life and get peace of mind that your property is in good hands by using an experienced property manager such as Highgate.
For more information about the property management and realty services offered by the experienced team at Highgate Properties, contact us today.