Apartment inspections aren’t just for when you move in or move out. As stipulated in the lease agreement, your property manager may stop by your apartment with notice to check on the property’s condition and make sure there aren’t any lease violations.
These routine inspections aren’t something to be afraid of. They help maintain clean, functional apartments and avoid expensive repairs or destroyed property beyond normal wear and tear. For example, if not caught early, water damage becomes a bigger problem.
Asking for more details about how a landlord does a routine inspection of the property is also a great question to ask during your tour of apartment complexes. Here’s what to expect.
Apartment inspection: What to expect
So what is an apartment inspection? You’re used to a move-in inspection when renting a new apartment. In this case, the property manager will walk the unit with you for a routine rental property check.
They’ll be looking for noticeable things, like how clean the apartment is and if any damage stands out. They’ll also look into things a tenant might not think about often like if smoke detectors are working, a pest problem, or any appliances need to be replaced. This is done to both keep the apartment safe and make sure tenants aren’t damaging property.
How many times does a landlord inspect an apartment? In most apartments, tenants don’t need to worry about apartment inspections happening every week or even every month. Landlords usually perform inspections just before a tenant moves in or out or do quarterly inspections.
How much notice should your landlord give?
It’s standard for landlords to give proper notice of 24-48 hours for an apartment inspection. Look at your lease agreement, as there should be a clause detailing the notice period before apartment inspections occur post move-in.
If the date is inconvenient for you or you need more time to prepare, talk to the property owners with plenty of time to agree on a mutual date to do a walk-through of the unit. Make sure to have all communications in writing and confirm whether the inspection will take place with you present.
Can you say no to an apartment inspection?
You can say no to routine inspections depending on your state’s tenant rights. Find out how much notice you need from the landlord to inspect your new apartment.
The property manager will eventually need access to your apartment (they have the legal right), but it can be on your own terms. In an apartment complex, you can let the property manager know you have pets and would like to be present, for example.
There are laws in most states that require a landlord to give written notice before they come to do apartment inspections, so you’ll know if someone is coming to perform an inspection of the property.
Make sure you know the exact laws for the state where you’re living — some require a 24-hour notice, while others may only require “reasonable notice” from most landlords.
What happens during the apartment inspection?
Landlords often have inspection checklists that they go through that reflect clauses agreed upon in the lease terms. A landlord inspection is also a great time to show wear and tear in the property — cracked window seals, broken appliances, broken windows, walls, bathroom, mold, plumbing or issues with fire safety.
Apartment inspection checklist
You must be prepared for apartment inspections, ensure everything is in good shape, and do any minor repairs before the walk-through. It will be similar to your move-in inspection, except the landlord will do the apartment inspections this time. Get your housekeeping skills ready for the routine check.
At the rental property, landlords will follow an inspection checklist and look at (but are not limited to the following):
- Walls for any repairs or unpatched holes
- Scuff marks on the floor or damage to carpets
- Smoke detectors
- Issues with appliances, including the exhaust fan
- Water damage
- Windows and if they open and close
- Cabinets and any signs of mold
- Front door and locks
With regular maintenance, landlords should take just a short time to inspect the property. Submitting maintenance requests regularly without delay will also help get a good inspection.
Check out our apartment maintenance checklist for simple tips for renters to stay on top of regular apartment maintenance and make every inspection a breeze. Doing this will also help you get your security deposit back.
What if you fail your apartment inspection?
It’s essential when renting to follow lease terms closely to avoid any issues as a renter. If you fail an apartment inspection, your landlord could evict you or fine you for the repairs needed to the unit. You can also lose out on your security deposit and any future referrals from the property manager.
You may fail your apartment inspection if:
- You have pets in an apartment that is not pet-friendly or doesn’t meet the apartment complex’s regulations. This includes too many pets, types of pets and breeds outside of the rules
- You sublet your apartment against the lease terms or keep guests for longer than it’s allowed by your landlord
- You smoke in the apartment regularly, and the smell has seeped into the walls
- You keep a dirty apartment and have developed signs of mold in the bathroom, walls and floors, or there are an unusual amount of holes in the walls
After the apartment inspections, it is up to your property manager to give you a second chance to fix holes, issues with the floor and carpets or any negligent damage after inspecting the unit.
Remember that while a move-in inspection has to you, the renter, being the inspector, pointing out existing damage or signs of wear and tear, a routine unit walk-through is for the landlord. Talk to your landlord after the failed inspection and attempt to find some common ground.
Do your part during the routine inspection
Whether or not there are regular inspections in your apartment, it’s always a good idea to be a respectful new renter and maintain your apartment in good condition. It will help get your security deposit back and avoid any costs.
Landlords and property managers often document and keep each apartment inspection on file. They can report on each apartment’s condition and determine if a tenant causes excessive wear and damage to the walls, floors, broken windows, carpets, appliances or anything else found while inspecting.
If unreasonable damage occurs in an apartment, tenants may be liable to fix or pay for repairs.