Take it from a Los Gatos property manager, owning a rental property in the San Jose area comes with a large amount of responsibility and most of the time, it’s not all fun and games.  To conserve a property’s worth and attractiveness for future prospective tenants, a landlord has to put in the work. You can’t get by with an occasional drive-by here and there.

If you’re serious about being a rental home owner, it’s important to carry out annual inspections of the premises during the tenancy. The main reason for this is to examine the property and make sure nothing is out of the ordinary. Mike Catalano with Real Estate Connections, Los Gatos Property Management company, recommends periodic inspections to allow landlords to double check the unit is being maintained and in sound condition.

Typically, your lease agreement should include a clause stating the tenant is aware the landlord will be given access to the property with proper notice. However, before showing up at your tenant’s front door, make sure to follow the California state law regarding such impositions.

California Civil Code Sec. 1954 states:

“Landlord must give reasonable notice except in case of emergency when no notice is necessary. Writing is not explicitly required. Twenty-four hours is rebuttably presumed to be reasonable. Landlord may enter in an emergency; to make necessary repairs; to make agreed repairs; to show the rental to prospective tenants, mortgagees or purchasers; when the tenant has abandoned or vacated the premises; and to do a pre-move-out initial inspection.”

In addition, California law mandates inspections only occur during normal business hours and landlords must enter with a clearly defined objective in mind.  Furthermore, tenants are not required to be present for inspections, so long as correct procedures were followed.

Here are a few reasons as to why you should annually inspect your rental property:

  1. To replace all smoke detectors’ and carbon monoxide detectors’ batteries. Also, to check if both alarms are still mounted on the walls and if they need replacing.
  2. To check all kitchen and bathroom sinks for leaks. If leaks do go without repair then the landlord may face an even higher cost by repairing the flooring rather than simply tightening a pipe.
  3. If you have a no pets policy, then you must walk through the entire home to make sure there are no animals present.
  4. To ensure the plumbing is working properly by flushing all toilets, turning on all tubs and showers, and checking all faucets.
  5. To check the curb appeal of the home and see if sprinkler in both front and back yard are working, garbage cans are put away, and gardeners, or tenants, are maintaining both yards.

During your property inspections, be respectful and courteous with your tenant in order to build a solid relationship. By doing this your tenant will feel more comfortable keeping an open line of communication in case of any future necessary repairs.

A landlord should never ignore their investment; you never know what may be found during inspections. Don’t end up in a bad situation by deferring huge maintenance issues until after tenancy. Take control and take care of your rental property. If you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Us.