Why shouldn’t property inspections be done more frequently?

Regular property inspections are important to protect your business. Proper maintenance extends the useful life of structures, systems, and equipment and can reduce the long-term expense of maintenance. A proactive policy for property management with regularly scheduled inspections for exterior and interior conditions and corrective action for identified problems reduces landlord exposure to potential liabilities for health and safety issues. An annual safety and maintenance inspection is generally considered an acceptable standard particularly when a move-out inspection by a departing tenant and a move-in inspection by a new tenant are conducted within a relatively short period of time. A landlord should always have a documented baseline of property conditions at the beginning of a new tenancy.

However it is not uncommon, depending upon the type and age of the property, for landlords to conduct property inspections on a semi-annual basis. A shorter interval between inspections does have value in early identification of a variety of maintenance issues that may not be reported to the landlord by the tenant who either does not regard the issue as important or is simply not aware of the issue.

Your lease agreement should specify the types of inspections, schedules, and notifications that are required for property maintenance and repair. If there are other types of inspections that must conducted during the tenancy (other than scheduled landlord inspections) the lease agreement should provide specifics on the type of inspection, the regulating agency, and the notification and inspection process required. These inspections may be required for reasons of health, safety, fire protection, building/occupancy codes, municipal rental property registration, business insurance coverages, or housing assistance programs.

Most states address by statute landlord entry to rental property including landlord entry to inspect the premises and to make repairs, alterations, or improvements. You will need to research your state law regarding the specific circumstances for landlord entry and the amount of notice required for non-emergency situations.

Frequent property inspections or improper use of property inspections may lead to claims by the tenant of landlord harassment and result in legal action by the tenant against the landlord for violation of the tenant’s rights. The tenant has a legal right of the covenant of quiet enjoyment of the rental premises.

Courts have upheld the right of the tenant to quiet enjoyment of leased premises regardless of whether the lease agreement contains such a covenant. This covenant ensures the tenant that during his tenancy, the tenant’s use and enjoyment of the dwelling unit will not be disturbed by someone with a superior legal title to the land including the landlord. The covenant between landlord and tenant provides the tenant with the right to exclude others from the premises, the right to peace and quiet, the right to a clean and habitable environment, and the right to basic services. If the tenant is deprived in whole or in part of the beneficial use and enjoyment of the leased premises due to actual or constructive action by the landlord, the landlord is in breach of the covenant.

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