Renting an apartment from a landlord or property manager comes with the understanding that the space is not going to be yours forever. In fact, landlords have made this property their investment, so it makes sense that they want to keep it in good shape, and performing an occasional inspection is their way of keeping tabs on the property’s condition. Here’s what you need to know about an apartment inspection, and what it means for you as a renter.
What is a routine inspection?
A routine inspection involves a landlord, maintenance worker, or property manager coming to your apartment and walking through it. They usually look for, and take notes on, any damages to the unit, changes made to the interior, or alterations to the outside of the property. A routine inspection usually happens while you’re living in the unit, and you may or may not be home while it occurs. It’s similar to a move-in or move-out walk-through, which we will touch on later.
Are landlords allowed to inspect your apartment?
Yes, landlords are legally allowed to inspect your property. After all, it’s their property and they own it, so it’s natural that they would want to check up on it every so often.
- Landlords have to give you notice; they cannot just show up unannounced and enter your unit
- They can, however, drive or walk past the property to ensure that the exterior is up to par; landlords are not allowed to be on the property without your permission, so during these “drive-by inspections” they can only look at the apartment from the outside
How much notice does a landlord have to give for an inspection?
In general, your landlord must give you at least 24 hours notice. Anywhere from 24-48 hours is normal, with some landlords even giving notice weeks in advance. Read your lease to see if there is anything specific to this. Your lease may state the number of inspections the landlord is allowed to perform per year, or how much notice they need to give you before each inspection. There might even be an inspection schedule set up beforehand. Read your lease thoroughly to know for sure.
How often should a rental property be inspected?
Depending on your landlord, they may want to inspect the rental property anywhere from one to three times per year. It’s normal for them to want to check on their investment this often. If your landlord is inspecting it multiple times a month, that’s a bit out of the ordinary. You might want to have a sit-down conversation with your landlord if this is the case and reassure them that you are taking care of the property.
What are landlords checking for?
Landlords are usually looking to see that all parts of the apartment or home are in the same shape they were before you moved in. The following are a few things they might be looking for:
- Holes in the walls
- Gouges in the hardwood flooring
- Broken appliances
- Evidence of a pet, if pets were not allowed
- They also want to see that the fire and smoke detectors are in working condition
Move-In and Move-Out Walk-Through
Landlords will usually do a move-in inspection with you. This is your chance to make note of anything you see wrong with the unit. Are there marks on the walls? Do the all the appliances work? Are there any window treatments that need to be fixed? Be sure to inspect the apartment just as much as your landlord during the move-in walk-through.
They’ll also do a move-out walk-through, which could either be with or without you. This is when they’ll make note of any damages, alterations, or problems with the condition of the unit. As long as you have documented any pre-existing damages during your move-in walk-through, you should be in good shape when it comes time to get your security deposit back.
Getting ready to search for a new place? Check out our apartments for rent and keep this inspection information in mind when you get settled in.