Real Estate Tips |8 min read

(2 FREE PDFs) What Can a Landlord Look at During Inspections?

During rental inspections, your property manager or landlord can examine nearly every nook and cranny of your property. And if you don’t meet these requirements, you can be fined or even evicted. Avoid these disasters by reading through what a landlord can look at during rental inspections (with downloadable rental inspection checklists at the bottom, to boot!)

Main Takeaways

  • There are 14 things that inspectors (like property managers or landlords) commonly look out for when inspecting a rental property.
  • These things include water damage, appliances, electrical systems, plumbing, and other concerns.

Table of Contents

Types of Rental Inspections for Your Rental Property

First, let’s delve into the types of rental inspections you’ll encounter as a tenant. As one of the biggest Northern Virginia property management companies, we usually advise tenants to keep the following in mind.

Move-In Rental Inspections

Per the name, move-in rental inspections occur when you move into your new rental home.

Before you move in, you and your landlord will go through your property together to document any issues that might already be present.

To protect yourself from undue liability, you should write down each and every issue you find upon moving in. Go through the entire place, room by room, section by section. Even better, take it a step further and take videos or photos around your space.

This way, you have concrete proof that any pre-existing problems aren’t your fault later. When the time comes for your move-out inspection, your landlord will compare your home’s condition then vs. now. If your property manager or landlord spots any new issues, they may withhold a part of your security deposit.

Next, once your move-in inspection is complete, you and your property manager will each sign it to confirm its contents.

Move Out Rental Inspections

Move-out inspections are one of the other types of property inspection. Luckily, they should go similarly to your move-in one. Again, your landlord is seeking to scope out your property’s general condition. However, this time, they’ll place special focus on whether any newfound disrepair has occurred since you’ve moved in.

Yet again, make photographic evidence of the premise’s state to show your impact (or lack thereof) on the place during your stay. Furthermore, make sure your landlord does, too, especially if they plan to withhold your deposits. This ensures that you’re being protected by local security deposit laws.

Routine and Seasonal Rental Inspections

There may be other reasons why someone needs to inspect your rental. For instance, they may want to do routine rental inspections to make sure that the home’s condition stays consistently good. Oftentimes, these rental inspections happen twice a year.

During these times, property managers and landlords will examine your property’s interior and exterior to find any maintenance issues, lease violations, or safety concerns. In addition, they may do some seasonal checks, like making sure the air conditioning is working properly.

7 Areas Landlords Look at During Inspections

Here is an extensive overview of the areas inspectors commonly examine during rental inspections. Be sure to keep these spaces in good shape.

Property Exterior

If your property has an outdoor area, your landlord could check a few things. For example, they could look at your driveway, patio, basement entrance, stairs, landscaping, door pathway, or any other points of change that stand out to them.

Interior Systems

As standard practice, your property manager or landlord will check the systems in your home to ensure they’re functioning properly. They’ll make sure that your air HVAC, smoke detectors, plumbing, and electrical systems work the way you need them to.

Living Area

Typically, property managers and landlords look at your living area’s flooring, ceiling, walls, baseboard, windows, doors, lighting, and outlet condition. Also, they will peek at places that are unique to your unit, like a fireplace.

Dining Area

If your home has a dining area, your inspector will likely check that, too. To boot, they’ll probably look at the same type of aspects that they would for a living area.


Kitchens go through a lot of wear and tear because they’re used so often. While the typical fixture checks apply, like walls or flooring, other ones may apply here specifically. So, ensure that your countertops, cabinets, sink, drain, garbage disposal, backsplash, drawers, appliances, outlets, lights, and shelves are in tip-top shape.


The basics described in the room above should apply here, too. However, bedrooms tend to get extra messy, so it can’t hurt to do a bit of tidying up before your inspector arrives.


Aside from the basics, landlords might inspect bathroom-specific appliances like the tub, vanity, showerhead, faucet, drains, countertops, vanity mirror, and plumbing. Additionally, they may assess the condition of your medicine cabinets or shelves.

Seven General Aspects Landlords Look at in All Home Areas

Here are some facets inspectors will look for all around your home. Be advised of these factors:


If your building doesn’t allow pets, your inspector will check the premises to ensure you’ve followed that policy. On the other side of the coin, if your lease does permit pets, you should pet-proof your home.

Water Damage

Inspectors will seek signs of water damage around your sinks, toilets, and laundry room. If they find any, they’ll want to repair this as soon as possible. After all, leaks and mold can damage a unit in the long run.

Security Systems and Hazards

Your security systems, like smoke detectors, carbon dioxide detectors, and window bars must work properly for your safety. As such, your inspector will ascertain that these are up to code.

Moreover, they’ll be scanning for any safety concerns like out-of-service exterior lights, tripping hazards, or broken outlets.

Pest Control Rental inspections

Throughout your inspection, your inspector should be aware of signs of pests, like mice or bedbugs. You don’t have to put up with these dangers—they’ll take care of it for you. In these cases, they should set up pest control appointments immediately.

Broken Appliances

Should you find that one of your appliances is broken, like your stovetop, be sure to report it to your inspector. Then, they can arrange for a repair or bring in a replacement.

Lease Violations

Your inspector will keep an eye out for any lease violations like smoking inside or subletting your rental unit in secret. So, be sure to avoid these missteps.

Unreported Issues

If you keep some issues as an unreported surprise for your inspector, you could face some consequences. On the milder end, you could be dealt a fee. Or, on the more severe side, you could fail the inspection and be evicted. Needless to say, you should always report any code or damage issues to your property owners as they come up.

What Happens After You Pass the Checkup

To cover all parties, the inspector will have you sign the inspection to confirm its good condition. On that note, you’ll agree to let the property owner handle repairs under their jurisdiction and handle others that are your responsibility.

Can You Stop Landlords from Inspecting Your Rental?

Unfortunately, you can’t skip your inspection. As the lease permits, you must receive advance notice beforehand, as well as an explanation for the inspection. Likewise, you can reschedule the inspection. However, you cannot avoid it altogether.

How Much Advance Notice is Required?

Each area has different laws regarding how much advance notice inspectors must provide.

Many places require property owners to provide 24-hour advance notice to enter an occupied rental. Others might go with the vaguer term, “reasonable notice,” so read between the lines of your local laws carefully. Either way, the landlord must state a clear reason for coming in before they arrive.

Still, there is one exception to these rules. Property owners can enter your property without advance notice if an emergency happens, like a fire.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Move-In and Move-Out Rental Inspection Checklists

Finally, feel free to download our rental inspection checklists!

Download Our Move-In Checklist

Download Our Move-Out Checklist


Get Stress-Free Rental Inspections with BMG

Rental inspections can seem overwhelming, but you can get the situation under control by coming in prepared.

Be sure to inform your property owner of any issues in advance. Also, get your room walls, ceilings, floors, shelves, and other corners clean and functioning for your inspector. Just make your space pretty and presentable, safe and secure, so that your inspector can walk away satisfied.

Whether you’re a tenant who wants an empathetic property manager & inspector, or a landlord who doesn’t want the stress of inspecting countless tenant homes, we’ve got you covered. Either way, we can take a load off of your shoulders.

Our team of professionals has years of experience in property management, and we know how to balance the needs of tenants and landlords alike. We’ve done hundreds of rental inspections, so we know how to handle it like the back of our hands.

And that’s far from all we do—we also handle repairs, maintenance, pest control, and many other tasks so neither party has to. We prioritize speed and efficiency so that your issues are solved on time. Contact us today to simplify your rental experience.

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