Landlords are responsible for ensuring that their properties are healthy and safe for tenants. The easiest way to do this is to do yearly inspections of the property.
Even with yearly inspections, some checks can be missed. This is why we’ve decided to help you by creating this basic yearly safety checklist for landlords’ inspections.
What the Law Says About Inspections
While you should also always reference your local and state laws, most laws state that you must provide a safe and livable home. You should do this by ensuring that the structure is secure and intact.
A Safe and Livable Home
Floors, walls, roofs, and stairs and all common areas should be safe and clean. The electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems should be functional. There are no known toxins in the living environments, such as lead paint, asbestos and mold. Security is adequate to keep out criminals. There is either extermination for rodents and other vermin, or no accessibility to the inside of the property.
This is the basic checklist you should use for inspections of your property every year.
Check to see if they open and close properly. If it doesn’t close, this could lead to an intrusion. If it doesn’t open easily, it could be an escape hazard if there is a fire.
The lights should turn on the moment the switch is flipped. If it doesn’t, there’s likely a electrical issue.
All outlets should work. There shouldn’t be any dangling wires, or black/scorched areas on the outlet.
Inspect the ceilings for water stains, which could have mold surrounding it. Cracks and sags can also be signs of water damage.
There should be no holes or cracks in the walls. This could be places where bugs can come into the home. It could also be a sign that there is water damage, which could also lead to mold.
Sloping floors is a serious issue. It could mean there are foundation issues or structural damage. If the floors are stained or have soft spots, that is a sign that there could be standing water.
The chimney should be inspected for any debris and clogs. A professional chimney cleaning should be done yearly.
- Smoke Alarms
You should check to ensure all smoke alarms are functional. If there are CO alarms installed, those should be checked as well.
- HVAC System
Ensure the HVAC system works. Schedule maintenance every year, including cleaning and inspection of the internal mechanisms.
Have the washer and dryer inspected and cleaned. The exhaust hose can get clogged, and could cause a fire.
The heating element should work properly. Inspect all hoses.
It should work well and be free from debris surrounding it.
- Water Heater
Set the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Sinks and showers should have adequate water supply and pressure. Don’t forget the toilet. Make sure it flushes with strength and fills up properly.
- Stairs and Walkways
Ensure the stairs are clear, sturdy and ensure there is a handrail. Make sure all walkways are safe with good lighting at night, while being free from debris.
All lights should be functional.
Trim all bushes and plants.
All windows should lock securely, and should open and close easily.
Look for missing or loose shingles. Repair or replace anything damaged or missing.
Keep Accurate Records
Take this checklist with you when you do the inspection. As you check each item, write down a note about your inspection. Be sure to sign it with the date. You may even have the tenant sign it. Keep this document in a safe place in case you need to have proof you inspected the areas.
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Also published on Medium.