What Does My Landlord Look for During a Rental Inspection?

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What Does My Landlord Look for During a Rental Inspection?

Megan Foukes · Aug 11, 2022
Property manager inspects an apartment unit and makes note of a crack in the wall.

Renters are aware of move-in and move-out inspections, but did you know that your landlord can also conduct rental inspections while you’re still living in their building? These are fairly common, and they’re designed to make sure that the building and units are in good working order. But just like with the typical move-in and move-out inspections, landlords are required to follow specific steps.

Rental Inspection Basics

Rental inspections are done annually or semi-annually and are never random. Landlords must let you know that they plan on inspecting your unit with a written notice requesting when they can stop by (usually at least 24 hours, but laws may differ by state).

It’s important that you’re present during the inspection so you can review the inspection checklist alongside your property manager. The inspection shouldn’t take long, and you can just watch and wait while they walk through the unit. You can reschedule if you aren’t able to be present, but you can’t omit yourself from the inspection. You are required to be there.

During the inspection, the property manager will make sure that you’re in compliance with the terms of your lease agreement, inspect surfaces and walls, confirm that any recent maintenance requests were completed properly, or take note to have maintenance come and fix something they find.

If, during the inspection, you are found to have broken the terms of your lease, the landlord could fine or even evict you. Never try and work around the lease or cut corners.

Rental Inspection Preparation

Woman vacuums her living room carpet ahead of an upcoming rental inspection.

You’ve been notified of a rental inspection, now what? If you’ve been meaning to do some cleaning, now would be the time. Clean any dirty surfaces, vacuum, dust, and put away clothes and dishes. The cleaner your space, the easier it will be for the landlord to run through the inspection.

After you’ve tidied up, make sure you do a self-inspection. Walk around your unit and take note of anything that looks concerning or needs to be repaired. Having a list ahead of time will also make the inspection run smoothly. Plus, you won’t be surprised if your landlord ends up finding something.

What’s the Landlord Looking for During the Inspection?

Once you’ve planned a date and time for the rental inspection, you can expect the inspection itself to be pretty straightforward. Each landlord may have different items on their list, but most look for the following:

  • Water damage inspection
  • Checking that security systems such as smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are up to code
  • Checking HVAC filters and the air conditioning unit
  • Pest control
  • Pets, especially if no pets are allowed
  • Broken appliances
  • Any other lease violations like smoking inside, illegal activity, or subleasing your unit without approval

While the inspection takes place, make sure you let the property manager know of any issues you’re having with your unit upfront. It’s important to speak up now so they get taken care of them quickly. If you wait, you could cause further damage and lose your security deposit, or pay a fee.

Once the inspection is complete and it is determined that you passed, you’ll be asked to sign paperwork stating that the inspection was complete, you were present, and any and all repairs are to be resolved by the landlord.

In Conclusion

While they may be a nuisance, rental inspections are necessary for you and other tenants’ health and safety. Your landlord isn’t out to get you and nitpick how you live, it’s just routine. The process is painless, and it won’t last more than a few minutes. As long as you follow the rules listed on your lease agreement, let your landlord know of any issues ahead of time, and keep your unit clean, you shouldn’t have any issues.

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