A Landlord Inspection Checklist is a document used by a landlord to conduct a periodic inspection, usually every 6 months, during a tenant’s lease. These inspections are usually conducted to assess the condition of the rental property and to prepare the property for seasonal changes.
When planning a time to conduct a periodic inspection, landlords must be aware of their state’s Notice of Entry requirements.
Why a Landlord Inspection Checklist is Important
This checklist is a vital tool for landlords to use during a tenancy. Even if you have thoroughly completed a Move In Inspection Checklist, there is a specific purpose for having a separate Landlord Inspection Checklist.
This checklist is a great tool to assist landlords in managing their properties. Using it to conduct periodic inspections provides the following benefits:
- Confirmation that the tenant is keeping the property in good condition.
- Prepares and protects the property for weather changes.
- Provides landlords with a current status on the condition of the property to plan for future routine maintenance.
- Helps determine normal wear and tear vs. tenant damage.
- Shows your care about the property which encourages tenants to stay and attracts new tenants.
Conducting periodic inspections with a Landlord Inspection Checklist provides benefits to tenants as well. These include:
- Having your rental unit properly maintained.
- Confidence that there will be no issues with essential season-specific items such as the air conditioning or heating system.
- An opportunity for tenants to point out concerns or repairs that may need to be fixed or replaced.
When to Conduct a Landlord Inspection
Other than at the beginning and end of a lease, there is no specific time in which a landlord is required to inspect a property. However, it is good practice to periodically check in on the state of the property. Depending on the length of the lease, it is good practice to conduct these inspections either quarterly or at the midpoint of a tenancy.
Ideally, you will time these periodic inspections with upcoming seasonal changes to ensure that essential seasonal items such as the heating and air conditioning system are properly functioning.
What a Landlord Checklist Should Include
The checklist does not need to be as detailed as the Move In Checklist used at the beginning of a tenant’s lease. However, it should cover the major items in the rental unit as well as items that are necessary for the upcoming weather season. What those specific items will be is dependent on the season, your type of rental property as well as its location.
General Inspection Items
The checklist should include an inspection of the following general items:
- Overall condition of the property
- Overall cleanliness of the property
- Walls, floors, and ceilings
- Fire extinguishers
- Smoke alarms
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Bug/Pest control check
- Water leaks (sinks, faucets, toilets, roof, etc.)
- Running toilets
- Water damage
- Seals and locks on windows
- Seals and locks on doors
The checklist should also include specific items to prepare for the upcoming season. Make sure to include any items necessary to keep your property prepped for the unique weather where your property is located.
For inspections before the Fall and Winter seasons, these may include:
- Pipes. Covering exposed pipes can prevent costly issues such as burst pipes.
- Heating System. Depending on your type of heating system this could include a check of the hot water heater or the replacement/cleaning of furnace filters.
- AC Unit Removal. Remove AC units from windows and store them for the winter.
- Winter supplies. Make sure the rental unit has the necessary supplies for the cold weather including shovels and salt.
- Gutters. Make sure gutters are cleared out. This can help avoid significant damage to the gutters from items freezing in them during below-freezing temperatures.
- Fireplace. If your unit has a fireplace make sure to clean your chimney and check the fireplace flue.
- Winterizing. Any other necessary action to prepare your rental unit for winter conditions.
For inspections before the Spring and Summer seasons, these may include:
- Air Conditioning System. This may include reinstalling air conditioning units in the windows, a basic check to make sure everything is working properly, and the replacement or cleaning of the air conditioners’ filters.
- Snow damage. Check to see if there was any damage to the roof or siding as a result of snowstorms. Also, check the sidewalks for significant cracks from snow and salt.
- Gutters. After the winter season, you should check your gutters to make sure they did not suffer any weather-related damage.
- Undo Winter Prep. This mainly includes placing winter supplies back in storage during the warmer weather.
How to Conduct a Periodic Inspection with a Landlord Inspection Checklist
When preparing to conduct a periodic inspection you must plan ahead to make sure you know when to notify the tenant and how you specifically plan to conduct the inspection.
Notice of Entry
It is good practice to inform your tenant in advance before entering their rental unit. Landlords should also make sure the inspection is conducted at a convenient time for the tenant. Some states have requirements for how and when you must notify a tenant before entering their property for an inspection or to make repairs. See the chart below for your state’s Notice of Entry requirements.
|State||Amount of Notice||Form of Notice|
|Alabama||2 days||None specified|
|Alaska||24 hours||None specified|
|Arizona||2 days, unless to make a repair at the tenant’s request||None specified|
|California||Reasonable notice (24 hours is presumed reasonable)||Written|
|Colorado||48 hours (only related to inspection and treating of bed bugs)||Electronic or Written|
|Connecticut||Reasonable Notice||Written or Oral|
|Florida||Reasonable notice (12 hours for repairs)||None specified|
|Hawaii||2 days||None specified|
|Indiana||Reasonable notice||Written or Oral|
|Iowa||24 hours||None specified|
|Kansas||Reasonable notice||None specified|
|Kentucky||2 days||None specified|
|Maine||24 hours||None specified|
|Minnesota||Reasonable notice||None specified|
|Montana||24 hours||Email, hand delivery, certified mail, or posted on the main entry door|
|Nebraska||24 hours||None specified|
|Nevada||24 hours||None specified|
|New Hampshire||Adequate under the circumstances||None specified|
|New Jersey||Reasonable notice (one day under normal circumstances) unless a rental property has fewer than 3 units (must have tenant’s permission)||None specified|
|New Mexico||24 hours||Written|
|New York||None||Not applicable|
|North Carolina||None||Not applicable|
|North Dakota||Reasonable notice||None specified|
|Ohio||24 hours||None specified|
|Oklahoma||1 day||None specified|
|Oregon||24 hours||None specified|
|Rhode Island||2 days||None specified|
|South Carolina||24 hours||None specified|
|South Dakota||None||Not applicable|
|Tennessee||None (consent is required)||None specified|
|Utah||24 hours (unless the lease agreement has different terms)||None specified|
|Vermont||48 hours||None specified|
|Virginia||72 hours||None specified|
|Washington||2 days||Written (unless emergency or impractical)|
|Washington D.C.||48 hours||Written or Electronic (if the tenant does not respond to an electronic notice a written notice must be provided)|
|West Virginia||None||Not applicable|
|Wisconsin||12 hours||None specified|
Conducting the Inspection
When conducting the actual inspection, here are some helpful tips to ensure it is smooth and productive:
- Tenant’s Presence. Encourage the tenant to be present during the inspection. Doing this will help make sure that the landlord and tenant are on the same page and provides the tenant with an increased sense of comfort in the inspection process.
- Move In Checklist. Bring the Move In Inspection Checklist you prepared at the beginning of the lease to compare with any new damages or to check on previous repairs.
- Tenant Reminder. It is good practice to call or text your tenant before the inspection as a reminder. Also, when arriving at the property, knock before you enter the rental unit.
- Use the Checklist. Use our checklist to make sure you cover all important items. This will also allow you to conduct a quicker and more efficient inspection. Make sure to describe any damages or defects that were uncovered.
- Compile Your Findings. Make sure you summarize your findings in an organized report.
If the tenant is not present during the inspection make sure you lock all the windows and doors and send a message to the tenant that you have left the property.
Repairs and Seasonal Preparation
Now that the inspection is complete your job is not over. Take the following steps after you have completed your inspection:
- Notify the Tenant. Notify the tenant of the results of your inspection and provide them a copy of the Landlord Inspection Checklist, or another document containing the same information. Inform the tenant of any repairs that need to be made and whether or not they were due to wear and tear or tenant neglect. If the damage was caused by the tenant, inform them that it may be deducted from their security deposit.
- Repairs. Make any necessary repairs.
- Seasonal Preparation. Complete any tasks required to prepare the rental unit for the upcoming weather season.
- Written Confirmation. If repairs were made, provide to the tenant, in writing, a list of all repairs made and their cost. Also, provide the tenant a list of tasks completed to prepare for the upcoming season.
End of Lease
As the end of the lease approaches you need to decide if you are going to offer to renew the tenant’s lease. If you are in the process of deciding, see our Lease Renewal Letter and Lease Non-Renewal Letter templates. You can find helpful information on these pages about which you should choose and how and when to send these letters.
If, for whatever reason, your tenant will not be renewing their lease make sure you schedule an inspection at the end of the lease using either your original Move In Checklist or our Tenant Move Out Checklist.