The best advice I can give you about property inspections in San Francisco is this: Do them. Do them every year. You need to walk through the property on an annual basis and inspect every nook and cranny. You should check every unit, every bathroom and every closet. The purpose is to see what’s going on inside the property.
You will need to notify your tenants that you plan to enter the property. The requirement is 24 hours written notice, but at we like to provide more than 24 hours notice – give your tenants a week’s advance notice. Anytime you give a tenant a 24 hour notice to enter you need to give a reason. The reason we give is to inspect the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. We go into the property with our maintenance person and we check every smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector to make sure they are functional. We replace batteries and if the detector isn’t working, we install a new one. We also get the chance to walk through the whole unit and note the condition and see what needs to be fixed, particularly if it is causing long term damage to the property.
Make sure you follow up after the inspection. While you’re in the property, if you notice some maintenance items that need to be taken care of, give them attention. Send your maintenance team into the unit to take care of any repairs or replacements that you noticed. You should be checking for long term problems as well. Examine the exterior paint and try to judge when you will have to re-paint it. Your annual inspections provide you with a great opportunity to begin planning for the future and your long term maintenance concerns.
Finally, if you see something wrong, don’t ignore it. For example, if you notice a dog in the property and the lease states no pets, notify the tenant immediately in writing that removing the dog is required. Make sure the dog is taken away and that the lease is being followed. If you see a lease violation while you are doing your inspection, but you do nothing about it, you are essentially giving your tenant permission to ignore that lease requirement.
If you have any questions about the best way to manage an inspection in San Francisco, please contact me at Gordon Property Management.