When it comes to regularly documenting the condition of a property, it’s best to be prepared and know exactly what needs to be documented in order for the walkthrough to be worth it. This is especially true in the case of properties currently occupied by tenants.
For occupied properties, the flow for conducting a walkthrough and creating a condition report has a few more steps to be aware of.
This article will walk you through preparing for an occupied property walkthrough, performing the walkthrough, and then what to do after the walkthrough.
Preparing for an Occupied Property Walkthrough
Preparation is quite possibly the most important step in the process since it will help align expectations and can keep you from potentially upsetting your tenants. Here’s what you’ll need to do for the preparation stage:
- Inform your tenant(s) that you will be conducting a mid-tenancy walkthrough to assess the current condition of the property and they will need to schedule with you accordingly.
- Explain in detail what will take place during the walkthrough, including that pictures will be taken only for the purpose of the condition report.
- Let your tenant know what they can do to be prepared: Update smoke alarm batteries if needed, change filters, check and clean under the sinks, put anything away that you do not want to be photographed, and make a list of anything that might not be working correctly.
- Try to get your tenant(s) to schedule the walkthrough within 3-7 days from when you notify them as it allows for the most accurate reports.
- Once scheduled, be sure to give your tenant(s) a 24-hour reminder before the walkthrough.
Performing an Occupied Property Walkthrough
You’ve done your preparation, reminded your tenant(s) 24 hours before the walkthrough, and now it’s time to actually conduct the property walkthrough. Here are the steps we recommend for performing an occupied property walkthrough:
- Arrive at the property on time and conduct the exterior inspection before entering.
- Ask the tenant(s) to put any pets away (if applicable) before you enter the interior of the property.
- Have a conversation with the tenant(s) prior to beginning the interior inspection.
- Explain why you're there and answer any questions they might have.
- Remind the tenant(s) that you will be taking pictures for documentation purposes only.
- Conduct the property walkthrough. Let the tenant(s) guide the walkthrough if possible — this will help make them feel more comfortable. If it's a positive experience, your tenant(s) will be more open to walkthroughs every 6 months (the recommended frequency for property walkthroughs).
- Make sure to look for lease violations, such as extra tenants, undocumented pets, any illegal activities, etc.
What to Do after the Occupied Property Walkthrough
Once you’ve completed the walkthrough, it’s recommended to do the following:
- Remind the tenant(s) again that this walkthrough is just to document the current state of the home, and if there's something they want to be fixed they need to put in a written work order as specified in their lease.
- If you find a leak, extensive mildew, unauthorized occupant(s), pets, or anything else that needs attention, take immediate action to:
- Document your findings
- Put those findings in the tenant lease file
- Issue a notice of compliance to the tenant
- Once the report is finalized, attach it or upload it to each tenant's lease file.
Always follow your state's rules when it comes to rental property inspections and tenant law. If you’re not sure, look it up!
What if you don’t want to do occupied property walkthroughs yourself?
If you're like a lot of property managers and don't have the time or just don't want to conduct these property walkthroughs yourself, you don't have to! There are platforms that can enable your tenants to conduct their own mid-tenancy walkthroughs, or you can outsource your condition reports to Showdigs Agents.
Showdigs Agents are actively-licensed, local agents who are specially trained to conduct mid-tenancy and move-in/move-out condition reports so you don’t have to. Ask us if Showdigs Agents are available in your area to get started!