Should Landlords Get a Home Inspection?
I’ve had landlords ask me if they are required to have a home inspection. The simple answer is, “No.” But, there is a more complex answer that should be explored…
Both landlord and renter can be aware of the cosmetic condition of a property, but what about the hidden things. What if an electrical breaker is too small for a built-in appliance and the renter continues to use it despite repeated tripping of the breaker? Is there a potential fire lurking in the not knowing? Even if the safety issues are not a factor, a home inspection documents the condition of the property before the tenant moves in. That could be very valuable in proving your case should you need to litigate for damages.
Unlike a real estate a property sale, rental property inspections are not regulated by The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). Having an inspection gives the landlord or property manager a reference of the property condition prior to the tenant taking occupancy. A good report should be a combination of a check list of items, narrative of the condition and photographs documenting the property’s condition. At Tex-Spections, I will provide you a report very similar to that required by TREC. You can share the report with the tenant, obtain proof that the tenant was provided a copy and if there are any compelling safety issues, you will know that up front.
While the size and age of a home can affect the cost of an inspection – but it could be a small investment in potentially mitigating your risk. If the inspection reveals that there are safety concerns, you will know what needs to be repaired and the inspector may reinspect any completed repairs for free or for a minimal charge. This should provide some peace of mind about the condition of the property and may prove to the tenant that you are genuinely interested in their welfare. An inspector will usually have associations with members of industry trades and can help you in finding the right person to perform repairs on the property. Ideally you should have an inspection completed with the tenant vacates to demonstrate the before and after condition of the rental.
If this blog has given you a reason to think about the need for an inspection of your rental property, then it has done its job. An inspection may not be for every rental situation, but if the landlord saves the cost of an attorney or a law suit over the return of a deposit, it might be a good investment.