How Often Can a Landlord Inspect a Rental Property?

Written on October 17, 2016 by , updated on November 7, 2016

too-many-inspectionsWhen your landlord tells you it’s time to inspect the rental property, do you panic?

If you’ve turned the property into the next potential candidate for Hoarding: Buried Alive, or if you’re using the property as a grow house for weed, you probably should panic because your landlord could, and probably will, evict you for breaking the lease terms.

But don’t worry. If you haven’t damaged anything and the place is in the same shape as when you moved in, your landlord won’t want to ask you leave, and in fact, will probably want to renew your lease at lease renewal time.

Some tenants think that landlords only want to inspect a rental property so they can discover something, anything, in an effort to keep the security deposit.

But don’t worry about that, either. Most landlords aren’t looking for a way to get out of returning your security deposit when they inspect a rental property. They are merely keeping tabs on their investment.

When landlords inspect a rental property, they are merely keeping tabs on their investment.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look regarding rental property inspections, why they happen, and what you can expect.

Move-in/Move-out

Most landlords do a move-in inspection with you and a move-out inspection with (or without) you. They do that to determine whether you left the place in the same condition as when you got it, taking into consideration normal wear and tear.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to “Normal Wear and Tear”

But it’s a good idea for landlords to check on their property before the year is out, during the lease term. That way, if there is a problem, the landlord can take care of it before it worsens.

Here are some examples of what landlords are looking for:

  • What if you secretly brought in a pet to get out of paying pet rent?
  • What if you moved someone else in?
  • What if there’s a maintenance issue, such as an overloaded circuit, that you weren’t aware was problematic?

The only way your landlord would find out these and other issues, issues they have a right to know about, is by performing an inspection.

Related: The Definitive Guide to Renting to Tenants with Pets

One, Two, or Three Times a Year is Normal

Some landlords don’t do inspections at all. This is a bad idea. Maybe your landlord is uncomfortable telling you they want to do an inspection. Or maybe your landlord doesn’t realize the importance of conducting routine inspections. Whatever the case, you can’t count on your landlord never inspecting the rental property.

Some landlords are just the opposite, wrongly believing they can enter the property anytime they like to check out their place. Note to tenants: they can’t! You have what’s known in the law as “the right to quiet enjoyment.” That means your landlord can come over only for specific reasons and can’t come over excessively.

Read your lease to see whether an inspection is specified in the lease. Landlords often inspect once a year, but some inspect a rental property twice a year or quarterly. Whatever the case, you are entitled to get notice, usually 24 or 48 hours in advance, before your landlord comes by to do the inspection.

What You Might Hear from Your Landlord

There are some common issues your landlord might find during an inspection:

  1. If you have hardwood floors and aren’t maintaining them properly, such as using a wet mop on them, your landlord might notice how dull the floors are looking. They will probably give you instructions on how to care for hardwood floors.
  2. If there is evidence of a pest infestation, your landlord will want to get an exterminator to come out ASAP. The longer a pest infestation is allowed to go on, the worse it gets. Your landlord will probably tell you to let them know if that happens again.
  3. If there are holes in the doors or walls, your landlord will probably tell you to fix them. If you don’t, you can expect a deduction from your security deposit.
  4. If the lawn is your responsibility per the lease, and you aren’t maintaining it, the landlord might do one of two things. They might go over what is expected of you, and then do a follow-up inspection. Or they might hire someone to regularly mow the lawn and deduct the cost from your security deposit.

If you don’t want to risk losing out on getting any of your security deposit back, you should take care of the place as if you owned it. If there are maintenance issues, notify your landlord right away, so they can fix them.

Drive-by Inspections

Landlords are allowed to drive by, walk by, or bicycle by their property anytime they like. They can’t go on the property during these drive-by inspections or disturb you in any way. They can just check to see whether everything looks good from the outside.

The property you’re renting from someone is a big investment for them. Regular inspections, along with tenant screenings, are the best tools landlords have to protect their investment.

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209 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Nancy

    My landlord came over and said I have too many pictures hanging. I’ve been here 7 years and these picture have been here since day 1. He never complained in the past. Now he wants me pay more of a deposit? There not even nail holes, I used these other things like a tack with a head. Plus it’s not in the lease about hanging pictures.

    • Jess

      the landlord cannot make you take down pictures simply because he feels there are too many. if there had been extensive damage to the wall he would be within his right to ask you to repair them or face a fee. but if there is no damage, he simply has no control or say over your personal family photos. you can write him a letter stating the lack of damage, including pictures and that it is not stated in the lease that there is a maximum number of personal photos allowed, or ristrictions on items hanging from the walls. if he continues nothing you about them you may need to take him to court so document everything!

    • Mia Greco

      My landlord does inspections every month and has a 5day window of time she’ll do them it’s too much stress one time I hadn’t run the vacuum that hour within her coming she flipped what should I do I can’t move out it’s a hut housing thing and I can’t afford to leave any legal tips

      • mary

        Your landlord cannot do inspections every month. This is considered harassment by the courts in almost every state I am aware of. Once a year is considered standard. HUD does the Sec. 8 apts. once per year. Landlord can inspect twice per year but I would get worried if it’s 3 times per year especially if you don’t get along. If he insists on inspecting every month, you need to talk to a lawyer as you are getting walked all over. this is frequently a means of intimidating a tenant and it is not legal. If you are poor, call legal services in your county,

        • Ashley

          My landlord drove by my house and thought it was messy fold out chair and my daughter ride toys and now she saying she is doing weekly inspections and saying I’m not aloud to cuss and last I checked I’m 28 I can cuss if I want to And I didn’t sign a lease to have my landlord at my door every week and can I change the locks and can she be here when I’m not home and what legal rights do I have here

  • jon c

    i keep this place like new the landlord is a great person been at this house 5 years the man is in california i’m in fl but the wife is in florida now she came for a walk thru friday now is saturday and posted a letter on my gate that she is coming again for a walk thru monday is that legal can she do that she just wants to bother people and is inconvenient to us as well

  • Daniel

    There is a time frame and a “reasonable notice’ that is supposed to be followed by law. I was able to get some info by going to the state housing dept. site.

  • Michele Mandatori

    I have tenant that don’t want talk either
    Me or my wife watt you thing es my next movement

  • Jeanne Ward

    I am a new landlord. I recently inherited a rental house and the tenant has been there for 8 years. I recently asked her if I could come in to check it to see what repairs and updates it needed. There is no lease, but I am in the process of getting one. The renter said she needed a couple weeks to get it ready for inspection. She messaged me that it was ready. I went in today and was very upset by the condition of the house. The renter was not there but gave her OK for me to go in. The place was filthy with dog food left out on the table, a dirty litter box, a mattress torn to shreds, trash on the floor, broken blinds on the windows, dirty dishes in the sink, and it smelled to high heaven of dog and cat feces. To me it was uninhabitable.

  • Penny De Vera

    My apartment complex did an inspection for potential purchasers of the property. They gave us a reasonable notice to come in on July 8-9. They came in today, but should we be prepared for them to come in again tomorrow since they are entitled to?

  • Maria

    I never had this happen with out a 24 hour notice from a landlord sending someone to the house to check light switches and outlets is that good for me to let that person in The house with out a warning the person the landlord send to inspect

  • Maria

    I never had this happen with out a 24 hour notice from a landlord sending someone to the house to check light switches and outlets is that good for me to let that person in The house

  • Carmelita

    Hey i have a question my land lord told me she will come 2 times a week to mop my floors i feel i dont have pravicy .i can mop my own floors what do i do .

  • Kirstin Goodwin

    My landlord visits the units often, it’s to the point where I feel like it’s an invasion of privacy. I’ve lived in my apartment for rougly 6 months and they’ve been in 3 times just this month!

  • diane lacey-taylor

    my landlord wishes to attend the property. he has given a date and time. neither myself or husband can be present due to work commitments. he has said a friend or relative can be present. we would prefer one of us to be present. is this normal? trying to change the date to the following day seems somewhat impossible and he has ‘scheduled’ the date in.

  • Jackie

    My landlord just had a rental inspection done a couple months ago and now wants to do another one. Is this even legal?

  • Shane Koinberg

    We moved in on April 8th 2019 it’s now September we have had 4 house inspectons done not including the ones we have had when we moved in. Notice is always given but starting to seem like harrassment. Is this allowed

  • Diamond D

    Property Management has done two inspections and two months every piece of paper that I received from them none have names printed on them just letterheads the second is a spection that took place they went through my personal belongings and told me because I have security it’s a violation and that I have to give them my security code and yet my security is not installed it’s plugged in and a sticky pad

  • Amin

    Same apartment unit for 13 years and never had an inspection other than a
    fire alarm/smoke-detector check.
    The unit is falling apart and I believe
    they knew this apparently.
    For example , drywall with no studs or
    insulation just visible cinder blocks or
    bricks. I know this because of cracks in
    the walls from touching/brushing by . Too
    much space between with nothing there.
    Just lean on it and you broke it……..
    Hopefully this will be my last year here and I believe that will be a fight for blame
    in the end. #no-inspections.

  • Pamela Garrett-Jones

    A HUD senior living facility’s (100+ units) Manager & office assistant which I’ve been on the waiting list for over 2 years is coming to my current apartment to inspect it this Friday prior to my being approved for an apartment in their facility, is this legal? And exactly, what areas of my current apartment are they allowed to search (closets, drawers, under beds, couches, etc) & take pictures of?

  • Anthony becker

    My property manager has given me a inspection about every other month for the same thing and the maintenance workers have been in and out of my apartment many times to do work I have called about and everything was fine. do they have the right to do that come in as many times as that and it’s no where in the lease about even doing any inspections at all I don’t understand doing it once twice or even annually any advice will help please and thank you

  • Martin

    Ok my question is my landlord has dark hard wood floors. When I moved in noticed the joints where all swollen like they had a flood they swear it just from over mopping after 4 yrs the stain is fading in high traffic areas specially seeing how my father needs a walker. Now who responsible for the restaining

  • Chris

    Hello! So, I’ve been here at my apt for almost 3 years. My apartment complex will do routine walkthrough looking at the sprinkler system! Well, I’m the last months September and October they’ve done 5 mandatory inspections! Stating mandatory walkthrough for “fire” safety! Then I was asked on one inspection that was an outside contractor if I 1.) had mold? 2.) bugs? 3.) all appliances were working properly? I told him no mold, no bugs, and yes all appliances work great! Well, then yesterday I receive a notice they were coming in today for “AIR QUALITY”! It was 3 people a regional manager, manager of maintenance, and some lady with a badge! The two managers stayed by the front door! The lady with badge walked into my room! I followed her.

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