We have often advised St. Louis rental property owners about the importance of inspections. By conducting routine property inspections, you can save money on maintenance costs. You can also document the condition of your property and ensure your tenants are following the terms of your lease agreement.
With COVID, getting inside an occupied property has become a bit more challenging. Things are looking better with vaccines becoming more available and infection rates beginning to dip. However, safety precautions are still an important tool in fighting off a potential surge. So, your rental property inspections will need to look a little different.
The important thing is that they can still be done.
Extra Precautions During Move-In and Move-Out Inspections
The move-in and move-out inspections can still be conducted the way they’ve always been done, since you will manage them without tenants or anyone else present. Go into the property and conduct your inspection as you normally would. The one change you’ll want to make is less contact with high-touch areas like doorknobs, appliances, and counters. Wear gloves and pay attention to cleaning.
Have the home deep cleaned and sanitized before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. Proactive cleaning contractors will have extra protocols in place to ensure the property is safely and thoroughly cleaned.
During the inspection, you’ll want to make all of your normal notes on your inspection reports, and take photos like you normally would. We also recommend you do a video. When you have a video that documents how the home looks, you can share that with tenants if there’s a dispute over security deposit returns. You can send it to maintenance contractors if you need work done. It’s a good way to utilize technology during a time where you want fewer people walking through the property.
Inspections During a Tenancy
When you’re inspecting a property with a tenant in place, extra care needs to be taken. Many tenants may still not feel comfortable with having someone inside the home, and you’ll have to balance your need to see the property with your tenant’s safety and peace of mind.
If your tenants are truly resistant to having anyone inside the home because of potential virus exposure, be empathetic to their concerns. You can ask them to take a video of the home’s condition. You can also walk through the house with them on Facetime or Zoom or Skype. Respect their need for a contact-free inspection experience and use the technology that’s available to you if possible.
For routine in-person inspections, take a few extra safety steps. For example, wear a mask and gloves. Wash your hands before and after you are in the home. Give your tenants plenty of notice so they can be outside of the home if that’s what they prefer. Don’t touch the things you don’t have to touch. Be efficient and fast, and get in and out.
Keeping Your St. Louis Rental Home Maintained
Whether it’s for inspection purposes or as a maintenance response, every vendor and contractor you work with will have a different way of handling your property during the pandemic. Some may not be willing to go in at all, unless it’s an emergency. Others will have masks, gloves, and extra cleaning supplies.
Let your residents know that you still want to be informed when something is broken or needs maintenance. You don’t want to create a long list of deferred issues. Prioritize what needs immediate action, and decide how to handle those issues that are not urgent.
As we move towards normalcy, we encourage our owners and tenants to continue keeping themselves and their homes safe. If you have any questions about St. Louis property management and inspections, please contact us at Amoso Properties.