Different municipalities have different rules for code compliance. Some areas generally require inspections for properties occupied by tenants using rent-subsidy vouchers. Other areas generally require inspections if a code violation is reported or suspected. Other areas practice systematic inspections of all multiple-unit residential housing.

These new municipality inspections can pose an unexpected cost to new landlords or those coming in from other parts of the country. Find out what inspection fees are associated with owning rental property in your prospective investing area. Also, factor in the cost of your time to meet with the inspector, especially if you invest in a significant number of units. Finally, consider the time it will take for re-inspection if a unit doesn’t pass on the first round. Don’t get caught off guard.

If you own multiple properties that require inspections, it can be easy to lose track of them and also lose track of what needs to be completed prior to the inspection. It can be helpful to put a member of your maintenance staff in charge of inspections. That way, it can save you the time of having to go to each property and meet with the inspector. When you receive the notice of information about the inspection, you can inform your maintenance staff member right away, and if possible, they can schedule a pre-inspection themselves with the tenant, to be sure there are no outstanding issues that may result in a fine or re-inspection.

As you are focusing on growing your portfolio, it can become difficult to keep up with the tedious task of managing rental inspections. A helpful hint is to utilize your Google calendar, or any digital calendar you are familiar with, to help you keep track. When you receive notice of inspection from the city, put it immediately into your calendar and set up a reminder with a week or two advanced notice.  Adding in the pre-reminder for the inspection will provide you and your staff adequate time and keep your team working in tandem on the same deadlines.

In addition to your municipality inspections, it can be an even taller task to manage those section 8 housing inspections.  Check the website of your respective housing authority and keep track of when your inspections are scheduled along with what needs to be completed prior to the inspection. In order to stay out of abatement, it is important to stay current on all repairs at your section 8 rentals prior to those inspections.

We had a client recently implement a stringent campaign with the maintenance and administrative staff. In order to properly coordinate and implement a higher level of communication and accountability. This way they can track the necessary milestones to ensure passing all housing inspections.  It is imperative that everyone on the team realizes the abatements – loss of rent – can mean a significant loss to the operating budget. Then you will be working together in success and not as lone rangers in the blame game. In addition to abatement many housing agencies are charging an additional fee to re-evaluate the property after the first missed inspection.

Some owners dread property inspections, but they can be a great opportunity to comprehensively evaluate the condition of your property. Consider an inspection to be a free assessment by a trained professional to make sure your building is in tip-top shape. Make an inspection as painless as possible by being prepared. Most housing agencies provide a handy checklist to verify that you’ve resolved all necessary issues in advance. Marking off this list with your handyman or member of your maintenance staff before an inspection saves time for the inspector—and for you, the owner.  Discovering that small leak today can help you avoid rotted wood, warped flooring, and moldy drywall tomorrow. Make sure you have all needed keys, and check that you can easily determine which keys open which locks. Being positive and cooperative is good for you and your business in the long run.

About the Author

Linda Liberatore is the founder and president of My Landlord Helper—Secure Pay One, a unique virtual assistant solution for DIY real estate investors. She also is a motivational speaker and author of the book “Daily Inspirations to Achieve Your Real Estate Investment Goals.” Her second book is due out Spring 2017. She has conducted more than 1,000 workshops focusing on setting goals and implementing technology and best business processes. Her ability to transform a property suffering from reduced collections into a flourishing one is displayed by a 98 percent client retention rate. Contact her at lindal@securepayone.com.


  • Linda Liberatore

    Linda Liberatore is the founder and president of My Landlord-Helper-SecurePayOne, a unique virtual assistant solution for DIY real estate investors, and the author of Daily Inspirations to Achieve Your Real Estate Investment Goals. Contact her at lindal@securepayone.com.

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