As a tenant, you have two main responsibilities. First, you need to pay rent each month. And second, you need to keep the property in good, clean working order throughout the duration of your stay. Conditions for this will be different for each lease agreement, and good agents will encourage you to read through the entire thing before you sign so that you can ask any questions and make sure you’re clear on what’s expected of you. It’s always essential that you as a tenant know your rights and responsibilities, especially when it comes to repairs.
The majority of tenancies use a standard lease agreement, so what’s expected of you will be relatively straightforward, meaning it should be easy to maintain the property. Typically, in these types of agreements, the landlord or real estate agent has the right to do a routine inspection every six months during your tenancy, with anywhere from 24 hours to 7 days of advance notice. This will vary from state-to-state, so be sure to check your lease agreement.
But knowing when you might be inspected is just the first part of making sure everything goes smoothly. You also need to know what you need to do. Again, your responsibilities will vary, and they will be outlined in the lease agreement. When your property manager contacts you to tell you he or she is going to do an inspection, make sure to read through the document again to know what will be expected from you.
Make yourself a list of what needs to be done so that you can be sure you’ve covered everything before the inspection. It might also be a good idea to email the property manager to ask what specific things they will be looking for so that you can properly prepare. Email is always better because this way you’ll have written proof of what was discussed. If for some reason you cannot be there when the manager conducts the inspection, then leave a note somewhere where it will be easily seen.
The first inspection of your tenancy will likely be a bit more rigorous. The agent may look for mold and also whether you’ve been cleaning exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen. They may also look for carpet stains, and they will check to see if the windows have been cleaned recently. You can be sure they’ll inspect gardens and outdoor areas, as well, to make sure they’ve been properly taken care of.
The inspection is also an opportunity for the agent to see if you’ve violated any of the clauses of the lease agreement. So again, make sure you’ve read through this document thoroughly. Other big issues people run into is damage due to lack of ventilation—it’s good practice to open windows regularly—and also infrequent vacuuming.
Overall, there are a lot of things the agent will be looking for. But if you stick to a standard maintenance routine, and if you are clear about what’s expected from you in the lease agreement, then you will be well on your way to a seamless inspection.