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Rental Inspection Checklist: What Can a Landlord Look at During an Inspection?

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." – Benjamin Franklin


Rental inspections are a vital aspect of property management, serving the interests of both landlords and tenants. For landlords, these inspections ensure that the property is well-maintained and that any issues are addressed promptly, preventing costly repairs in the future. For tenants, regular inspections provide a sense of security and help maintain a safe and comfortable living environment. In this blog, we will delve into the essential components of a rental inspection, offering a comprehensive checklist that landlords can use to ensure their properties remain in top condition.

The purpose of this blog is to equip landlords with a detailed guide on what to look for during a rental inspection. Whether you’re a seasoned property manager or a new landlord, understanding the key areas to inspect can save you time, money, and potential legal hassles. Readers will learn about the different types of inspections, the tools and supplies needed, and a step-by-step guide to thoroughly inspect both the exterior and interior of a rental property.

Regular rental inspections are crucial for several reasons. According to the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) properties with regular inspections have a 20% higher retention rate. These figures underscore the importance of consistent property checks in maintaining the quality and value of rental properties.

By the end of this blog, you will have a clear understanding of what a landlord should look at during an inspection, from safety checks to detailed assessments of each room. Armed with this knowledge, you can ensure that your property remains a desirable place to live, attracting and retaining quality tenants.

In the next section, we will explore the fundamentals of rental inspections, including the different types and the legal considerations every landlord should be aware of. This foundational knowledge will set the stage for a more detailed examination of the inspection process.

Understanding Rental Inspections

Definition: What is a Rental Inspection?

A rental inspection is a process where a landlord or property manager examines a rental property to ensure it is in good condition and complies with safety standards. The inspection helps identify any maintenance issues that need attention and ensures that tenants are taking proper care of the property. It’s an essential part of property management that helps maintain the property’s value and liveability.

Types of Inspections

  1. Pre-Move-In Inspection:
    Before a new tenant moves in, the landlord conducts a pre-move-in inspection. This inspection documents the property’s condition, noting any existing damage or maintenance needs. This record helps avoid disputes about the property’s condition when the tenant eventually moves out.
  2. Periodic Inspection:
    Periodic inspections are conducted at regular intervals, such as every six months or annually, during a tenant’s lease. These inspections help identify and address maintenance issues early, ensuring the property remains in good condition. They also allow landlords to check that tenants are complying with lease terms.
  3. Drive-By Inspection:
    A drive-by inspection is a quick, informal check of the property’s exterior. The landlord or property manager drives by the property to look for obvious issues, such as overgrown lawns, external damage, or signs of neglect. This type of inspection is less intrusive and can be done more frequently.
  4. Move-Out Inspection:
    When a tenant moves out, a move-out inspection is conducted to compare the property’s condition against the pre-move-in inspection report. This helps determine if any damage exceeds normal wear and tear and if any repairs or deductions from the security deposit are necessary.

Legal Considerations

Landlords must be aware of tenant rights and legal responsibilities when conducting inspections. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Notice to Tenants:
    Most jurisdictions require landlords to give tenants advance notice before entering the property for an inspection. This notice period can vary but is typically 24 to 48 hours.
  • Reasonable Hours:
    Inspections should be conducted during reasonable hours to minimize disruption to the tenant’s daily life.
  • Privacy and Respect:
    Landlords must respect tenants’ privacy and conduct inspections in a non-invasive manner.
  • Documenting Findings:
    It is important to document the inspection results, including photos and detailed notes, to provide evidence in case of disputes.

Understanding these aspects of rental inspections helps landlords maintain good relationships with tenants while ensuring their properties remain in excellent condition. In the following sections, we will provide a comprehensive checklist and guide to conducting thorough rental inspections, starting with how to prepare for one.

Preparing for the Inspection

Scheduling the Inspection

Proper scheduling of a rental inspection is crucial to ensure a smooth process. Here are some best practices:

  • Notify Tenants in Advance:
    Provide tenants with a written notice at least 24 to 48 hours before the inspection. This notice should include the date, time, and purpose of the inspection.
  • Choose a Convenient Time:
    Schedule the inspection during reasonable hours, typically between 9 AM and 6 PM, to respect tenants’ privacy and routines.
  • Confirm the Appointment:
    Follow up with tenants to confirm the scheduled time and address any concerns they may have.


Bringing the right documents to the inspection helps you stay organized and ensures you have all the information you need. Key documents to bring include:

  • Lease Agreement:
    Reference the lease to check for specific terms related to property care and maintenance responsibilities.
  • Previous Inspection Reports:
    Compare current conditions with previous reports to identify any new issues or recurring problems.
  • Inspection Checklist:
    Use a standardized checklist to ensure you cover all necessary areas during the inspection.
  • Tenant Communication Records:
    Bring any relevant communication records with the tenant regarding maintenance requests or issues.

Tools and Supplies

Having the right tools and supplies on hand will make the inspection more efficient and thorough. Essential items include:

  • Inspection App on Smartphone or Tablet:
    Use a template with a checklist to digitally capture notes and observations during the inspection. Take photos and videos to document the condition of various areas and any issues found.
  • Flashlight:
    Use a flashlight to inspect dark or hard-to-reach areas like basements, attics, or under sinks.
  • Measuring Tape:
    Measure spaces for any potential renovations or repairs.
  • Screwdriver and Pliers:
    Basic tools to test fixtures and ensure they are secure.
  • Moisture Meter:
    Check for moisture levels in walls and floors, which can indicate leaks or water damage.
  • Smoke Detector Tester:
    Ensure smoke and CO detectors are functioning correctly.
  • Gloves:
    Protect your hands when inspecting potentially dirty or hazardous areas.

By following these preparation steps, you’ll be ready to conduct a thorough and effective rental inspection. In the next section, we’ll dive into the specifics of what to inspect, starting with the exterior of the property.

Comprehensive Rental Inspection Checklist

Sign up with Visualogyx and download a free Rental Inspection Checklist template from our Public Templates library.

Exterior Inspection

Conducting a thorough exterior inspection ensures that the property is well-maintained and free from potential hazards. Use the following checklist to guide your inspection.

Grounds and Landscaping

  • Cleanliness:
    Ensure the property is free from litter and debris.
  • Lawn Maintenance:
    Check that lawns are mowed, and gardens are weeded and well-kept.
  • Trees and Shrubs:
    Inspect trees and shrubs for overgrowth or damage.
  • Irrigation Systems:
    Ensure sprinklers and other irrigation systems are functioning properly.

Building Exterior

  • Siding:
    Look for cracks, holes, or other damage in the siding.
  • Paint:
    Check for peeling or fading paint.
  • Windows:
    Ensure all windows are intact, open and close properly, and have no broken panes.
  • Doors:
    Inspect doors for damage and ensure they open, close, and lock correctly.
  • Foundation:
    Look for cracks or signs of shifting in the foundation.

Roof and Gutters

  • Roof Condition:
    Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles, tiles, or other roofing materials.
  • Leaks:
    Look for signs of leaks or water damage on the roof.
  • Gutters and Downspouts:
    Ensure gutters are clear of debris and downspouts direct water away from the foundation.

Driveways and Walkways

  • Surface Condition:
    Check for cracks, potholes, or uneven surfaces that could pose tripping hazards.
  • Cleanliness:
    Ensure driveways and walkways are clean and free of oil stains or other debris.
  • Lighting:
    Verify that all outdoor lighting is functional and adequately illuminates walkways.

Garages and Sheds

  • Structural Integrity:
    Inspect garages and sheds for structural damage or signs of wear.
  • Doors and Locks:
    Ensure all doors open and close smoothly and locks are secure.
  • Interior Condition:
    Check for cleanliness and signs of pests or water damage.
  • Safety Equipment:
    Confirm that fire extinguishers or other safety equipment are present and functional.

By following this exterior inspection checklist, you can identify and address issues that may affect the property’s appearance, safety, and overall condition. In the next section, we will move on to the interior inspection, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of the rental property.

Interior Inspection

A detailed interior inspection ensures that all areas of the rental property are in good condition and meet safety standards. Use the following checklist to guide your inspection.

Entryway and Hallways

  • Flooring:
    Check for damage, wear, and cleanliness.
  • Walls:
    Inspect for cracks, holes, or peeling paint.
  • Lighting:
    Ensure all light fixtures are working and provide adequate illumination.

Living Areas

  • Flooring:
    Look for stains, damage, or excessive wear on carpets, tiles, or hardwood.
  • Walls and Ceilings:
    Inspect for cracks, holes, or peeling paint. Check for signs of water damage.
  • Cleanliness:
    Ensure the area is clean and free of clutter.


  • Appliances:
    Test the functionality of the stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher. Ensure they are clean.
  • Cabinets and Countertops:
    Look for damage, wear, and cleanliness. Ensure all cabinet doors and drawers function properly.
  • Plumbing:
    Check for leaks and water damage under sinks. Ensure faucets work correctly and drains are clear.


  • Fixtures:
    Test faucets, showers, and toilets to ensure they work properly. Check for leaks.
  • Grout and Tiles:
    Inspect for cleanliness and any damage or missing grout.
  • Ventilation:
    Ensure there is proper ventilation to prevent Mold and mildew buildup.


  • Closets:
    Check for damage and ensure doors function properly. Verify that there is adequate shelving and hanging space.
  • Windows:
    Ensure windows open and close properly, check for drafts, and ensure locks work.

Laundry Area

  • Washer and Dryer:
    Test the functionality of the washer and dryer. Ensure they are properly connected.
  • Ventilation:
    Ensure the dryer vent is clear and properly ventilates to the outside to prevent lint buildup.


  • Storage Areas:
    Look for signs of pests or water damage. Ensure the area is clean and free of clutter.
  • Structural Integrity:
    Inspect for any structural issues such as cracks, water damage, or signs of Mold.

By following this interior inspection checklist, you can identify and address any issues that might affect the habitability and safety of the rental property. In the next section, we will focus on safety checks, ensuring the property complies with all safety regulations.

Safety Checks

Ensuring the safety of your rental property is paramount. Use the following checklist to confirm that all safety measures are in place and functioning correctly.

Smoke and CO Detectors

  • Functionality:
    Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly.
  • Placement:
    Verify that detectors are installed in the correct locations, including each bedroom, hallway, and on each level of the property.
  • Battery Replacement:
    Check the batteries and replace them if necessary.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Accessibility:
    Ensure fire extinguishers are easily accessible and located in key areas such as the kitchen, garage, and near potential fire hazards.
  • Expiration Dates:
    Check the expiration dates and ensure that all fire extinguishers are within their valid period.
  • Condition:
    Inspect the physical condition of the extinguishers for any signs of damage or tampering.

Electrical Systems

  • Exposed Wiring:
    Look for any exposed wiring and ensure it is properly covered and safe.
  • Outlets:
    Test all electrical outlets to ensure they are functioning. Replace any damaged or faulty outlets.
  • Circuit Breakers:
    Check the circuit breaker panel for any signs of wear or issues. Ensure all circuits are labelled correctly.

Locks and Security

  • Door Locks:
    Verify that all exterior and interior doors have functioning locks and that keys are available where necessary.
  • Window Locks:
    Ensure all windows have functioning locks and that they can be securely fastened.
  • Security Systems:
    If the property has a security system, test its functionality and ensure that tenants know how to use it.

By following this safety checks checklist, you can ensure that your rental property meets all safety standards, providing peace of mind for both you and your tenants. This comprehensive inspection process will help maintain the property’s value and liveability, ensuring a secure and comfortable environment for everyone.

Documentation and Follow-Up

Proper documentation and follow-up are essential steps in the rental inspection process. Detailed notes and photos are crucial for creating a clear record of the property’s condition. During the inspection, take comprehensive notes on any issues you find, and photograph areas of concern using a digital inspection software to provide visual evidence. This detailed documentation not only helps in tracking maintenance needs but also serves as a reference in case of any disputes with tenants.

Once the inspection is complete, compile your findings into a formal digital inspection report.

Addressing Issues

  • Prioritization:
    Prioritize the issues found during the inspection based on severity and urgency.
  • Communication:
    Communicate with tenants about any repairs or maintenance that will be performed. Provide a timeline for when they can expect the work to be completed.
  • Follow-Up:
    After addressing the issues, follow up to ensure that the repairs were done correctly and to the tenants’ satisfaction.

Regular Maintenance

  • Routine Checks:
    Schedule regular maintenance checks to prevent small issues from becoming major problems. This includes seasonal tasks like checking heating systems in the fall and air conditioning in the spring.
  • Tenant Responsibilities:
    Encourage tenants to report any maintenance issues as soon as they arise. Provide them with a clear process for submitting maintenance requests.
  • Future Inspections:
    Plan for future inspections and keep a calendar to track inspection dates. Regular inspections help maintain the property and build a good relationship with tenants. 

By maintaining thorough documentation and following up on identified issues, you can keep your rental property in excellent condition. This proactive approach helps preserve the property’s value, ensures tenant satisfaction, and reduces the likelihood of costly emergency repairs. Regular inspections and ongoing maintenance are essential practices for successful property management.

How Visualogyx Can Help

Visualogyx is a leading provider of virtual inspection solutions that enhances rental inspections and property management. Here’s how:

Online Inspections with Customized Templates: Conduct inspections online using fully customizable templates tailored to your specific needs. This ensures a standardized approach to every inspection, making it easier to maintain consistency and quality across all your properties.

Virtual Dispatching to Tenants: Easily assign inspection tasks to tenants virtually. Tenants can conduct the inspections themselves, providing real-time updates and photos, which saves time and reduces the need for physical visits.

Centralized Information Management: Store all inspection data securely on the cloud, enabling you to produce comprehensive reports and access necessary documents from a centralized location. This facilitates better organization, quicker information retrieval, and efficient property management.

Validation of Inspection Photos: Ensure the integrity of photos during virtual inspections through geolocation and metadata validation. This guarantees that the inspection data is accurate and reliable.

With Visualogyx, rental inspections become more efficient, transparent, and manageable, helping you maintain the quality of your properties and ensuring tenant satisfaction.


Regular rental inspections are essential for maintaining the quality and safety of your rental property. In this blog, we covered a comprehensive checklist to guide you through each step of the inspection process. From preparing for the inspection to examining both the exterior and interior, ensuring safety measures are in place, and documenting your findings, these steps help keep your property in top condition.

Regular inspections not only protect your investment but also foster a positive relationship with your tenants. By addressing maintenance issues promptly and maintaining transparency, you create a comfortable and safe living environment, which can lead to higher tenant satisfaction and retention.

To make your inspections even more efficient, we encourage you to use our digital rental inspection checklist. If you have any questions or need further tips, don’t hesitate to contact us. Regular inspections and good communication are key to successful property management, ensuring your property remains a desirable place to live.

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About The Author
The Visualogyx team of experts in digital audits and inspections share industry insights and trends for organizations seeking to digitize their inspection and verification processes. Stay tuned for more informative and engaging Visualogyx blog posts.
About Visualogyx

Visualogyx is an advanced inspection management platform that is specifically designed to optimize and simplify a wide range of essential business processes. With its powerful suite of tools and features, Visualogyx enables organizations to efficiently manage verifications, work orders, quality assurance, safety processes, asset inspections, and much more. By utilizing Visualogyx, companies can achieve greater efficiency, accuracy, and productivity in their operations, all while reducing costs and improving overall performance.

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