There are two different types of rental inspections that property managers and landlords do.

  • A vacant inspection is typically a move in and a move out inspection, when a tenant is not in the home. This is entirely different from the second type of inspection, which we call an occupied rental property inspection.
  • An occupied inspection is often done to check on how well a tenant is taking care of your property.

We’re going to talk about vacant inspections.

Five years ago, we began doing vacant inspections with video at Hoffman Realty.

It has really changed our process as well as our results. These might be the world’s most boring videos, but they are working well for us and the tenants and property owners we work with. Usually, we start with a complete view of the outside of the property. We record the entire exterior and then we move inside. On the interior of the property, we record every room and get a good look at the condition of the floors, walls and ceilings. We open up every cabinet and appliance and we capture everything on video.

As I said, these are boring videos and depending on the size of the property, each of them is around 30 minutes long. When a tenant moves out, we do exactly the same thing. This is important because if we are going to make a claim on the deposit, we do it based on what we can prove with the documentation in the video. We can compare the move in and the move out videos. For example, if there is a hole in the wall that was not there before the tenant moved it, we can not only see it ourselves, we can also show it to the tenant.

These videos are objective and far better than the checklists we once used.

Those checklists would ask us to rate whether a room or an appliance was in “good” or “fair” condition, and it’s hard to know what that really means. What I consider to be in good condition might be what you consider to be fair. Those checklists were far too subjective, so the video provides the objectivity that is needed for property managers and tenants.

Video has cut down on the number of deposit disputes we must manage.

We might make a claim against the deposit if there are cleanliness issues, for example. If we have to pay to clean out a fridge, we send that claim to the tenant and if the tenant calls to question us, we can invite them into the office to look at the videos. It is hard to dispute what is on the video, and the tenants can see we are being fair and that the claim is valid.

At Hoffman Realty, we strongly recommend using video to assist you with your vacant rental inspections. Be sure to read the next part of this blog, which will talk about occupied inspections. Contact us or give us a call if we can answer any questions at (813) 875-7474.