If you live in Atlanta, “Rent My Home” ads may have caught your eye. The Atlanta rental market is booming and savvy homeowners are taking advantage of it. In fact, NPR recently reported that even builders are getting in on the single-family rental home trend. However, jumping into the property management industry is not as easy as it looks. Before you decide to put a “For Rent” sign in your front yard, you need to educate yourself on a few property management basics. One task that should never be overlooked is the property inspection. Learn why experienced property managers always perform regular property inspections by reading below.
Why Regular Inspections are Important
Many first time landlords make the mistake of only inspecting their property at move in and move out. Move in and move out inspections are vital to running an investment property, but you are doing your property a disservice if that is the only time you inspect it. Most Atlanta property management firms, including Specialized Property Management Atlanta, recommend inspecting your rental property two to four times per year. Here are three reasons regular inspections are important:
- Lease Compliance: Let’s face it, tenants do not always follow the rules set out in their lease. Sometimes they are forgetful, but other times they intentionally break the rules and hope they won’t be found out. A tenant may get an unauthorized pet, let a friend become a roommate, or even smoke inside a non-smoking rental home. During a regular inspection, you can be on the lookout for compliance issues.
- Safety Checks: Your rental home was safe and habitable when your tenant moved in, but has that safety been maintained? Believe it or not, tenants may unknowingly put themselves in harm’s way. Hazards like expired smoke alarms or an outlet that feels hot to the touch go unreported, leaving your property and your tenant at risk. Regular property inspections will allow you to address these safety issues before they become a bigger problem.
- Preventative Maintenance: Regular, preventative maintenance should be performed in order to extend the life of your home’s systems and save you money. For instance, tasks such as changing the AC filter or cleaning the coils can improve the efficiency of your AC and add years to its life.
In Atlanta, rent my home procedures like regular inspections also signal to your tenant that you care about their well-being and the habitability of the rental property. In turn, your tenant will care about keeping the property in good shape, and be more open when maintenance issues arise. Taking on this simple task ultimately leads to a better cared-for home, clear landlord-tenant communication, and less turnover.
What is the Property Owner’s Responsibility?
What are Atlanta property owners responsible for at their rental property? Responsibilities can be a sticky part of property management, especially when one or both parties claim the other is not holding up their end of the lease agreement. Furthermore, negligence on the part of a property owner that results in injuries to the tenant may lead to a lawsuit. According to the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook, a rental property owner is obligated to maintain the structure of the property, ensure the utilities are in working order, and keep the home safe and accessible for their tenants. For example, a front door with a broken lock or an electrical outlet that sparks fall under a property owner’s responsibility. A tenant is not responsible for keeping up the structure of the rental home, however, they are responsible for providing a written notice when a maintenance issue arises. Regular property inspections ensure you are doing your part to make your rental home safe and habitable.
How Atlanta Property Management Firms Conduct Regular Inspections
Now that you know why property inspections are important you may be wondering how to go about conducting them. The first step is to communicate with your tenant about the planned inspection. During lease signing make sure your tenant is aware that you will be inspecting the property quarterly or semi-annually. Prior to each scheduled inspection communicate with your tenant about the time and date you will arrive, and how long the inspection should take. In Georgia, most lease agreements state a landlord is allowed reasonable access to the property as long as they provide sufficient notice. However, individual lease agreements differ so it is important to go over this with your tenant at lease signing. Be aware that if your lease does not cover whether or not the landlord is allowed to access the property, the tenant can deny access.
Bring a check-list to go over while you conduct your property inspection. Make sure you include items such as checking faucets for leaks and ensuring all smoke detectors are in working order. Take pictures of anything you need to note for repairs or security deposit purposes. Remember, your Atlanta rent my home journey will include normal wear and tear. For more information about what constitutes normal wear and tear, and how security deposits work visit this post.
What to Do When an Issue Arises During an Inspection
What happens if your rental home inspection reveals a problem? The answer depends on what type of problem you find. Here are a few examples of common issues and how you can handle them.
- Small Maintenance Need: Did you find a leaky showerhead or a loose stair rail? Most tenants don’t even bother to submit a maintenance ticket for something so small, however, we recommend being proactive about these issues. Consider bringing a small toolbag when you perform your inspection so you can address these issues immediately. This method will save you time and money, and let your tenant see how much you care about their home and comfort.
- Large Maintenance Need: Occasionally we find problems during inspections that require more than just a hammer or wrench. When large maintenance issues arise most experienced Atlanta property management firms recommend calling licensed professionals to help. Make sure you have a list of trusted professionals to call when you need them so your tenant does not have to wait for repairs.
- Lease Compliance Issues: What do you do if your tenant adopted 30 cats despite a clear “no pet” policy? First, you need to remain calm. It can be frustrating to see your lease agreement disregarded, but getting angry won’t help fix the situation. Be respectful and firm when you bring up lease compliance issues, and always have a copy of the lease with you when discussing them. Most lease compliance issues can be resolved quickly and favorably this way.
While you may not have a tenant with 30 cats or an AC system that decides to call it quits prematurely, we guarantee you will encounter issues with your rental property eventually. We recommend taking notes and pictures, and keeping good records of every rental inspection and encounter with your tenants.
Running an Efficient Atlanta “Rent My Home” Business
Regular property inspections take time and effort, so how do you budget them into your bottom line? Why not let the professionals handle it? Experienced, professional property managers have the tools and knowledge you need to make your investment successful. Here is how the property managers at Specialized Property Management Atlanta do it:
- Our team of professionals never skip a routine property inspection. We know how important it is to be aware of what is happening at your property.
- With our inspection checklist, no stone goes unturned. We know what to look for during an inspection in order to keep your property in good running order.
- Cost-effective maintenance is important. We are experts in proactive, money-saving maintenance techniques that keep your property from falling into disrepair.
- Our property managers communicate clearly and respectfully every time we encounter your tenant, leading to less frustration and turnover. We deal with lease compliance issues swiftly so problems do not get out of hand.
- We keep detailed records with pictures, accessible via your Owner Portal, so you are never in the dark about what is happening at your property. Bookkeeping was never so easy.
Working with our Atlanta property management firm gives you access to a team of experts in every area of property management, as well as a list of professional vendors. Simply put, working with Specialized Property Management Atlanta is an easier and more efficient way to do business.
Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta Today
Specialized Property Management Atlanta is one of the top Atlanta property management companies for a reason. With the hot Atlanta rental property market, you may be tempted to think you can self-manage or hire a “discount” property manager who is less experienced. However, our property owners find they save money, reduce stress, and experience less turnover when they work with our team. Our proven processes, like regular property inspections, will help you increase your cash flow without increasing your workload. In fact, our team of experts takes care of every aspect of the rental cycle. All you need to do is sit back and let our team do what we do best.
If you are considering renting out your Atlanta home, call the experts at Specialized Property Management Atlanta. Request a quote by visiting this page, or call our specialized team at 404-596-8454.