Typically, home inspections are only done when you purchase a property. We say typically because some people tend to skip this step entirely when they have owned the property for a while. However, when it comes to rental properties, inspections are necessary for everyone’s safety. But how often should you conduct a rental home inspection? We have the answers below.
What happens during a rental home inspection?
The role of a qualified and experienced rental home inspector is to assess if the property is in a good state. After doing this inspection, you should be set for the next few years, or until you decide to sell your house. The reason rental home inspection is highly advised is that the inspector can locate major structural issues that may be detrimental to your property’s condition and value. In this way, the prospect of losing significant amounts of money after years of unknowingly ‘nurturing’ faulty woodwork or appliances is nipped in the bud.
For example, since plumbing is such a vast system that cannot be accessed easily, people usually invest in repairing their plumbing only after the water leaks and wreaks havoc. Leaks from the rooftop can damage wooden beams (which is quite dangerous) or make a mess out of your floor and your neighbor’s ceiling. Water is silent but destructive, which means you can live in a home for years without knowing that you are provoking a potential deluge of water and expenses for fixing the induced damage.
For this reason, hiring a professional home inspector to check your property for any issues is a tiny expense compared to potentially having the described scenario happening a few years from now. The inspector will also suggest the most affordable ways to mitigate the disaster and point out what you need to do every month to properly care for your home.
In which cases is rental home inspection essential?
All kinds of mishaps can happen if the home is not inspected before tenants move in. Apart from plumbing, inadequate or poorly laid out flooring can also cause unexpected expenses if left undetected. It usually happens that new tenants want to install new tiles or parquet into their living space, only to find out that the sub-flooring had completely rotted away underneath the removed top layer.
Furthermore, it is crucial to think about a rental home inspection not only as a way to mitigate spending money on repairs and overhauls but also as a necessary safety measure. Sometimes, things that sound seemingly innocuous – such as rusty nails – can cause parts of your structure to collapse and hurt the person living there.
This particular problem occurs when older buildings do not get inspected for several years or even decades. Such oversight does not have to be a matter of intentional neglect – older buildings usually adhere to outdated safety measures. At times, it might happen that the authorities do not inspect them regularly. However, regardless of who is responsible for that in the eyes of the law, taking the matter into your hands is the most prudent thing you can do.
Other such unfortunate situations where certain issues are overlooked include brickwork erosion due to a leak, damages made to the beams, termites attracted by moisture in the walls, etc.
As you can see, neglecting the house can be a recipe for disaster in several ways. Unfortunately, the landlord insurance policy usually does not cover these repairs. Therefore, especially when you own an old house, a rental home inspection is money well spent.
How often should you have your rental inspected?
Now that we know how and why accidents happen and how timely home inspections can help us dodge expensive repairs, the logical question is how often you need to get your home inspected.
As with everything – it depends. In cases when the house has a basement or crawlspace underneath the flooring, inspectors advise doing a detailed rental home inspection at least once or twice in 2-3 years, or every time the house is re-rented.
If you have slightly outdated plumbing and wiring systems, you may want to inspect more frequently for safety precautions. The same goes for houses located in damp, swampy areas since moisture is severely detrimental for building materials such as wood.
Another time when you may want to consider a rental home inspection is when you are planning a major remodelling project of your property. From the perspective of safety, it is silly to splurge thousands of dollars of your savings on new bathroom tiles, only to find out that your heating system does not work properly. In these cases, prioritizing repairs over renovations is essential to keep everything under control. If you find it difficult to conduct a rental home repair because of your belongings, you might want to put extra furniture away in a safe storage unit. In this way, you can both prep your house for the renovation and make the home inspector’s job a whole lot easier.
But, how often do you need a rental home inspection in a newly-built house? It is probably the case that it has gone through an inspection quite recently. Besides this, newer installations do not have to be inspected as frequently as old ones, so a median period of 4 years between each professional rental home inspection is completely fine.
Chris Anderson is a blogger and aspiring interior decorator, mostly working with Vision Movers and other moving companies. He has written several articles on the subject of appropriate safety precautions in households and enterprises.