Prepare Your Tenants (And Yourself!) for a City Inspection

Most cities and counties require biennial inspections for rental properties. It behooves you as a landlord to prepare your property for this. It is also wise and considerate to prepare your tenants well ahead of the inspection.

As the landlord, you will manage most of the necessary preparation since it involves maintenance and safety checks. But a clean and organized house can go a long way in finding favor with a strict inspector.

Here are a few ideas to succeed:

No Surprises!

Notify your tenants at least one month in advance, or as soon as you find out. Give an overview of the inspection so they know what to expect. Such a large interruption is a major inconvenience, especially at the last minute.

Don’t Panic

Visit your property regularly and keep in close communication with your tenants to avoid surprises. Otherwise you will be scrambling before the inspection. Access the checklist from previous years to assess your property.

You may need to spruce things up that will take more than a day or two. You don’t want to barge in on your tenants in a panic with a day to spare. Have knowledge of general guidelines year round.

You can access the division of rental property maintenance responsibilities here: Rental Property Maintenance: Landlord or Tenant Responsibility?

Messy House, Messy Inspection Results

Keep in mind that inspections go much better if the house isn’t presented with clutter and dirt. A messy house invites criticism. Ask tenants to clear the floors and have presentable living spaces. Something as small as a cord lying across the floor can violate a safety standard, while tweaking of minor aesthetics can go a long way.

A pro tip source for this is: Five Simple Interior Decorating Ideas to Keep your Rental Looking Fresh

Second Chance!

Occasionally, a pre inspection occurs. At this time you’ll be notified of violations. If this is the case, take advantage of the notice you are given and correct any issues.

If a violation is found that requires your tenants to rearrange something, be sure to provide support in remedying the issue.

There’s Something In It For Everyone

Send reminders to your tenants as the inspection date draws closer and ensure your communication is clear. Remind your tenant that a positive inspection benefits everyone! The city does have a right to declare your property unlivable if violations are many or severe. This should motivate everyone.

As the landlord, it would be wise to do a walkthrough of your property the day of the inspection for any last minute adjustments.


Also published on Medium.

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