In this Blog post, we’ll discuss The true potential of the periodic inspection clause and how a smart and experienced landlord can use this clause in a different situation to serve a different purpose.
What is the Periodic Inspection Clause?
This is a lease condition. A landlord keep a condition in the lease with the tenant to have an inspection visit inside the tenanted unit at the regular interval about 2-4 times a year. The primary purpose of this regular inspection visit to your property is to check for any deficiencies and maintenence issues. It is the part of landlord responsibility. It would help you be in regular touch with the condition of the property. By visiting the tenant’s occupied space, you get a good idea of how the tenant’s up-keep of your rental unit or if there is any untoward occurring in your rental unit.
Is it Legal?
Most states and provinces don’t have the specific provision of regular or periodical visits by the landlords to the rental premises in the tenancy laws. However, regular visits come under the purview of checking regular wear and tear or up-keep of the property. Hence it’s not deemed to be illegal if a landlord put a condition in the lease.
Related Article: How to write Friendly Rent Increase Letter?
Can I request periodical visit even if it’s not in the lease as a condition?
Yes, you can. In the wake of the condition in the lease, It would be considered as an inspection visit. But if you request too many periodical inspection visits, there is a danger of you annoying the tenant. You may spoil your relationship with the good tenant. And The problem tenant would use it as a harassment and may file complaints against you. So the discretion is advised.
Use Periodical Inspection Visit as a Smart Tool. How?
There are quite a few instances in the tenure with one tenant when a landlord can use this condition as a smart tool to his or her advantage!
Use it as a Tenant Screening Tool
While negotiating the lease, you may present to have the condition of the periodic or regular inspection visit. You will be able to see the reaction on your prospective tenants’ face. The good person would take it in a good faith. He may even appreciate it as it’s the sign you are not going to be an absentee landlord! They may ask you some cautionary questions about the timing of your visit or if the tenant has to remain present and so on. If you see a resistance or rejection in the tenant’s behaviour, that’s the reason for you to be more vigilant of this candidate for the tenancy and requires further investigation.
2. Regular Visit as a Part of Landlording Responsibility
The good and experienced landlords always pay regular visits to the rental property without failing. They know these inspection visits have direct relations with the long-term landlording success. You should be looking for wears and tears, water leaks, changing furnace filters, fixtures, any blew-out bulbs etc. It’s also important to look out for any mould or damp. Also, check the exterior of the building and roof. Most experienced landlords use this opportunity as a good way to have a casual meeting with tenants. It’s a prudent idea to schedule these visits on the weekends.
3. Use this inspection visit to keep an eye on the new and problem tenants
Because you have this condition in the lease, the tenant can not deny you the access. Be professional. Your approach should be balanced. Do not appear like a detective. Do not complain about unworthy or patty things. Look for any illegal activities. It’s important to know there may be a few things you may see in the occupied unit which you may not like. However, unless it’s illegal or potentially damaging to the property in future, you can not do anything. If you see all the lights are on, you may like tenants to be disciplined in their electricity use, but unless you get an unreasonably high hydro bill you can’t do anything.
While visiting the tenanted unit, unless you see any illegal activity or something potentially damaging to your property, you can’t complain. Discretion is advised!
It has been observed that after a few visits, you’d realize what kind of tenant you are dealing with. You would not like to bother good tenants. However, it’s always prudent to still have a regular visit, maybe lesser number per year!
What if prospective and seemingly good tenant insists not to allow periodical inspection clause in the lease?
It remains up to your discretion whether to let the good candidate go or remove the condition. If the candidate sounds unreasonably insisting about not having this clause, my advice is to reject the application.
You may try to reduce the number of visits. An experienced landlord has some innovative ideas for the visit. It can be to collect the rent or to change the filter or for the appraiser visit or to check the attic from inside before the winter.
As you grow in your landlord career, you’d have your own way how to keep an eye on your property and your tenant’s activity. But this is one of the best tool to your avail to use it to your advantage.
I hope you find this article helpful. Please share your view at the bottom of this article in the comment section.