The Importance of Regular Inspections in Your Rental Property

by Patrick Freeze  5/05/2023

If you want to ensure a long-lasting rental property, regular maintenance, repairs, and inspections are vital. So, as part of the rental process, landlords must complete a few different types of regular inspections to ensure tenants are following lease terms and there’s no excessive damage to a rental unit. Additionally, detailed inspections help landlords identify maintenance issues before they become major repairs. To learn more about the importance of rental inspections, read along as we review four inspection types crucial to rental success. 


Contents of This Article: 

  • What Types of Inspections Do You Need?
  • Why Are Regular Inspections So Important?
  • Tips for Regular Inspections In Your Rental
  • Hire Property Managers to Schedule Regular Inspections

What Types of Inspections Do You Need?

Property owners and rental property management in Northern Virginia must be well-versed in rental inspections. Several types of inspections are vital to keeping your rental property in good health. After all, regular inspections help save property owners money by finding issues before they become larger problems. So, follow along as we review the four main types of inspections for rental properties. 


  1. Move-In Inspection
  2. Routine Inspection
  3. Drive-By Inspection
  4. Move-Out Inspection

Move-In Inspection

One of the most important types of inspections is a move-in inspection. You’ll want to perform a move-in inspection each time a new tenant occupies a rental unit. Before the tenant moves in, they walk through the property with the landlord and take note of any pre-existing conditions. Any minor damages or areas of repair should be thoroughly documented for each room on a detailed checklist. Additionally, taking photos or videos of the property at the start of a tenancy can help document the condition. 

At the end of the inspection, as long as both parties agree, the landlord and tenant will sign the inspection checklist. Later, you’ll compare the move-in inspection with the move-out inspection to show any damages above normal wear and tear. From there, landlords can withhold some or all of the security deposit based on damages. 

Routine Inspection

Depending on the property type and length of tenancy, a routine inspection should be held at least every six months. A routine inspection is to check up on the property and ensure your tenants follow the lease terms regarding maintenance and repairs. During the inspection, landlords should check the interior and exterior of the property. 

However, a routine inspection may be seen as a disruption to a tenant’s life. As such, landlords must approach them the right way by giving proper notice before entering a property. Additionally, respecting the tenant’s belongings during routine inspections is crucial. So, don’t move, touch, or photograph their belongings without permission. 

Drive-By Inspection

A drive-by inspection is a simple process compared to other inspection types. Instead of coordinating an inspection time with your tenants with proper notice, a drive-by inspection allows you to pass by the property at any time and ensure it’s in good condition.


While you can’t see the inside of the property, you can verify that the exterior of the property is well taken care of. If you notice anything out of order, notify your tenants in writing about the issue and an action plan to fix repairs.

Move-Out Inspection

A move-out inspection is similar to a move-in inspection. You’ll want to inspect with the tenant present and go through the checklist together. A move-out inspection aims to determine the overall condition and evaluate any damages done by the vacating tenant. Tenants are responsible for returning the property in the same condition as when they moved in, aside from normal wear and tear. 

You’ll want to have the same checklist as you did for the move-in inspection and compare the two to determine any major damages. Once you compare the two, you can determine how much of the security deposit, if any, you need to withhold from the tenant. Again, you’ll want to take photos before and after for documentation and provide the original move-in inspection checklist as proof of new damages.

Why Are Regular Inspections So Important?

Regular inspections are a crucial process for all rental properties. They allow property owners to confirm a unit’s condition at any point during the rental process. For instance, a move-in inspection gives landlords and tenants a starting point for the unit. Then, routine and drive-by inspections allow landlords to see how tenants maintain the property. Additionally, it determines whether or not there’s excessive damage. 


Finally, when landlords perform inspections at the end of a lease term, they can determine whether there are damages beyond normal wear and tear. During this process, landlords should provide tenants with an itemized list of damages. Furthermore, you’ll want to include how much, if any, of the deposit will be withheld to cover the costs of damages. 

Ultimately, rental inspections are essential for landlords to identify maintenance or repair issues before they become major expenses. Additionally, it allows them to ensure tenants are following the lease terms and taking care of the property per the lease terms. 

Tips for Regular Inspections In Your Rental

Depending on the type of inspection you perform, it’s crucial to keep a few things in mind to adhere to your local landlord-tenant laws. As such, here are a few tips for regular inspections in your rental property when tenants currently live there.  

  • Give Proper Notice Before Entering- Giving your tenants at least 24 to 72 hours’ notice before entering the property for an inspection is crucial. While it’s not required in all states, giving your tenants a heads-up is nice instead of showing up unexpectedly. 
  • Ensure the Tenant Will Be Home- If you’re inspecting the unit of a current tenant, you’ll want to do it when they’re home. This allows landlords to point out areas that need repairs and gives them a chance to remind tenants how to get their security deposit back. inspection-checklist
  • Explain the Reason for the Inspection- When you give your tenant a heads-up about the inspection, let them know why you’re performing it. Remind them of their lease terms with information about regular inspections if necessary. 
  • Be Respectful of Tenant’s Personal Items- Avoid touching, moving, or photographing your tenant’s personal items. Just as you would want to enter with notice, you don’t want to move or touch any of their belongings. 
  • Take Photos of the Property Condition- While you want to take photos of the property, it’s important to go about it respectfully. For instance, you must avoid taking pictures of any tenant’s property. If something is in the way, politely ask your tenant to move it.

Hire Property Managers to Schedule Regular Inspections

Owning rental properties comes with a ton of responsibility. One of the largest responsibilities includes performing regular inspections for each rental property. However, regularly inspecting each property you own can be extremely time-consuming. As such, many busy investors look for comprehensive property management to do their day-to-day tasks. 

Professional Property Management of Northern Virginia offers full-service management, including rental marketing, payment collection, regular inspections, and more. If you want to elevate your rental business, look no further than PPM. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your rental business succeed.

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