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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173 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Bobbi jo Kinser

    i have been renting from my landlord for almost 2 yrs. Ever since they saw that my fiance made a kind of little office in our garage, which is where our washer/dryer goes and there is a work bench that previous tentants put up that stops a car from being put in there, they want it down. Now there are no actually walls, they are old sheets that he tacked to cieling. Its cold out there so doing this helps him keep that space warm. Now they are wanting monthly inspections done so they can make sure no more “walls” are put up, can they do that

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Bobbi,
      I’m not sure what you did or did not put up. But you always need to check with your landlord before you alter property you’re renting. Your landlord can then approve or deny your requests. If you make alterations without permission, it’s understandable that the landlord might wish to conduct inspections more often. Perhaps if things go smoothly from now on, the inspections will become less frequent. Make sure you get notice from your landlord before the inspections though. Your landlord should not just come over unannounced for a routine inspection. It’s typical to get 24 hours’ notice.

    • Lisa Lilly

      Maintenence man called and stated thate the state requires 2 to 3 yr inspections on rentals is this true?
      I been here for 5yrs , Never herd of it

  • Carol

    We moved in to our rental property last July ,just had notification of another agent visit,3rd one…is this usual..we are professional couple,house is spotless,what are they checking for?

  • Daniel

    I was given a notice of entry by property manager to remove a tree in my yard. it took them 9 days to finally do it. Now they want to comeback and do more. The notice of entry said “extending to the end of the month”. I received it on the 11th. Today is the 21rst. How long (window of time) can a notice of entry hold? Can a landlord give one notice of entry allowing entry for 2 or 3 or more weeks in a row?

  • Kirsten

    My brother and sister-in-law just had their landlord come over and drop off a notice saying that he’s coming for an inspection but he didn’t say why. Is he allowed to do that?? Or is my brother allowed to refuse because his landlord didn’t give him a reason for the inspection??

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Kirsten,
      Landlords have the right to inspect their own property. They typically need to just give a notice that they are coming over to do the yearly/quarterly/monthly inspection.

    • Debra MacFadyen

      My landlord did an inspection December 2, 2018 He said he was selling house and changed to child moving in We had a hearing the the board said I must leave by April 30, 2019 Now he kid asking for another inspection I am in the middle of packing and have my daughter visiting with new baby Do I have to accommodate again Last time he didn’t even look at the house just wanted to talk about me moving or raising my rent by 500.00 a month I have been an excellent tenant and always paid my rent on time Originally we agreed on 5 years 3 years at the same rent by unfortunately I don’t think he gave me a copy of my lease No matter but what will happen if I refuse him inspection

  • shelia

    I lived in my apartment 3 1/2 years. I’m 62 yrs. old I was told 24 hour prior, an annual inspection will be conducted on my apartment with no legit reason why. I asked why and it was stated “I was the lucky one” The inspection lasted less than 5 min. Didn’t look over the apt. at all. Snap a couple of pictures SMOKE DETECTOR & SNAP SHOT OF SOMETHING IN THE KITCHEN and left. I’ve never thought I raised suspicion to warrant an inspection. I pay rent on time, keeps a low profile and a clean apt.. Do they have the right to come without a legit reason?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Sheila,
      Yes. Landlords can inspect their property. I typically conduct annual inspections to keep tabs on my investments. Some landlords do so more often. If something is amiss that the landlord finds during the inspection, the landlord can then take care of it.

      • Veronica Pot

        Hi. My landlord has came over to the house without giving a 24/48hr notice on Feb 16, 2019.. he texted me at 6pm Feb 28 2019 that he wants to do an inspection of the home at 1pm the next day. Is he allowed to come Twice in one month? Also, how long does an inspection last? He invaded my privacy by looking at my mail his last visit.

  • Teena

    My 23 year old son lives in an Apartment complex and has been there about 2 1/2 years. In HS he was a year round athlete, smart, popular and went to a University but fell very ill from a disgusting old house he rented that was infested with black mold (whole other story that didn’t end well for my son). Either way that is why I made sure he was in a good clean well maintained apt. BUT with that said over the last 2 1/2 years these people have come into his unit 2-3 times or more per month! It’s always something they “say” they are renovating the whole property and now they come in more. Last week it was to inspect all blinds, this week it is to measure all counters. Wouldn’t they all be the same per unit size? Is this allowed?

  • Kenny

    My landlord has been coming in every week or two. He has been leaving a notice on the door every time. Needless to say, it seems excessive at minimum. Is there a legal limit to how many times he can “inspect” I’m tired of it, and it’s making my girlfriend and I very uneasy. I want to tell him no, and have the law on my side.

  • Renee

    Question.
    I’ve lived in my townhome for 8 years. Do I have to leave when my landlord comes for the yearly inspection? My landlord always ask my family to leave. It’s me an my sister.
    This year I noticed drawers were open and when she went to check the hvav she left trash from the ceiling on the carpet.

  • Connie

    The place I am currently renting just had a inspection two weeks ago.
    Now they want to do another inspection.
    Is this legal?
    The manger of the complex explained to me that my apartment was one of the nicest in the complex that’s why they wanted to show it.
    Is that evan legal? Also renters they just moved in next to me. Keep smoking by my apartment and using my front area as a ash try. I have complained about this several times. The office reply is we are telling them they can’t do this.Nothing is being done!

  • jenny davis

    so ive been living in my home for about a year and a half in january i agreed to pay march and aprils rent in advance when i get my taxes back well feb 15 my land lord messaged me saying he needed to serve me with a 15 day eviction notice because i hadnt payed the rent for march and april yet and that i had agreed to pay it by mid feb which i didnt. now they have come twice already to take pictures and do walk throughs and they want to come and do a walk through every few days. they have not served me with a court order eviction notice just one they wrote themselves can i deny them coming in nothing has changed nor will it change since the last two walk throughs.

  • Mike

    The city where my properties are located and have tenants has a created a department that forces the owners not only register their property as a rental but also they want to come in once a year and inspect the properties for safety & health and charge us $150 per inspection. My tenants are very unhappy and they are apposing it and actually I support them and I think this is totally invasion of their privacy. Can I refuse the city for entering to the property.? What are my and my tenants legal right for stopping them to enter to property.?

  • Violet

    How often is too often goes an inspection? I’ve been a model tenant for 2 years, and my property management company still sends me an email at 4:59 on Friday afternoon to notify me they will be inspecting the property Monday at 8 am… 2 hours before their offices open. And they don’t inspect at all, but they hire a random contractor to come in and photograph my bed, my TV, everything in the cupboards, etc. This happens every 2-3 months. My rent is always paid on the 1st, and my credit score is 799.
    It’s really hard to not feel violated. I also can’t help but wonder if they do this to all their tenants, or just me. Or maybe all the other black female tenants.

  • Roseanne rogers

    I’ve been here for twenty two years and every year they inspect my apt and when there coming they don’t care if your sick they still won’t let you change your appt. Also they bring alot of people with then in twenty years I have never failed I wish they come alone

  • Charles Bustamante

    Can I ask my landlord to reschedule so I can be there when they do the inspection?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Charles,
      You can ask. Your landlord doesn’t have to go with your schedule, though. But worth a shot.

      • Tad

        I wonder how many landlords have been shot when a tennant doesn’t even realize they were given a notice of inspection. I have noticed too many landlords don’t even call anymore and use email as communication. I hardly ever check my email so god for bid he or she decides to enter when I’m sleeping. He or she will be met with a short dark barrel in their face.

  • Dana P.

    Can my landlord look in my closets/cupboards during an inspection?

  • cory

    our landlord gave us notice that an inspection was coming and we haven’t heard anything in a while. The notice was for an inspection on feb 28th and it’s march 28th now. Can they still do an inspection?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Cory,
      Your landlord should give you another notice before coming over. You could always reach out to them, letting them know that they missed the last appointment and to please let you know if they plan to re-schedule.

  • Maria

    My landlord comes every day to work on units but i work nights and really just want to get some sleep in the morning it seems like he just likes hanging out in property is this ok am really getting frustrated with the hole situation and if i do mention something to him like could u quiet down he gets really loud with me

  • CARLETHA LEE

    My manager wants to come in every 60 days. had an inspection set up by mgmt 5 times since Sept 12 of 2018 and never showed up for 4 of them. I’m disabled and missed dr appts as I don’t trust them in my appt w/o my presence. I’m in California.

  • Christine

    Ive lived in a home i rent with a detached garage. Were on a month to month lease which the landlord wrote up hinself and signed it but i or no one whose living in the house signed it just my landlord. Hes now given us a written notice to leave in 60 days which is by. May 31. He sent some guy who works for him over to start painting the outside of the house without any warning to us..he just shows up..we took pictures of the hiuse half painted and hes now storing new carpet and cabinets in the garage thats included in our rental agreement. He started doing this again before we ever got a 60 day notice. We have dated pictures. What can we do if anything. Hes bothering us because we never know when or who is showing ip..i live in Ohio.

  • Leslie

    Can a private landlord (who accepts HUD vouchers) charge the tenant to do monthly inspections, in lieu of charging a security deposit at move in? The tenant has zero income.

  • Julia Vandross

    OHIO: Does the tenant have the right to refuse entry by the contractor during business hours for inspection unless she is present? I have 32 hours notice of entry and she is refusing to let him enter, although he has a key.

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