Renter Inspections

How do you handle renter’s that want an inspection? The inspection will of course include known areas or problems that the renter is trying to get the owner to repair. A representitive for a housing Authority said hire a home inspector…what are your thoughts. A similiar situation involved an airforce base that provided housing to personnel. Mold was found and documented by a lab and the results were to be used to force repairs or different housing arrangements. This seems like it could be contentious and possibly litigious work and perhaps not profitable in the long run.
Thanks in advance,

My company will not work on the property without permission from the landlord. We allow the renter to be the “Client” by wording in the Contract, but that Contract must also be signed by the landlord giving us permission to be on site. The landlord also has to define the extent in which we can inspect the property (for example destructive vs. non-destructive inspections for various pollutants).


I have a special RENTER inspection, but it is typically used by the college students to document the condition of a property when they move in. Then they get a discount by calling me down the road for an inspection to document the condition of the property when they move out. I also have some landlords who use me for the exact same thing.

Renters, by contract, “own” what is called a “lease hold estate”. That gives them certain rights in regards to the use of the property which is outlined in their rental agreement. They have the “right” to have anyone on their “estate” that they want to, for any legal purpose. As long as those “guests” are not causing damage to the property, there is no issue.Therefore if they want to hire you to do a “non-invasive” inspection of the property that is within their rights. You don’t need the land lords permission to be there. Just make sure you do no damage. As to the litigious nature of it, be sure you know what you are doing, and also inform your client that the inspection fee does not include conversations/arguments with the land lord nor does it cover your fees if you are required to be in court.

Thanks for your advice. Jason I think that is an excellent idea that the contract to include a signature “by the landlord giving us permission to be on site” that is what I was looking for. It’s a much better situation if the parties are working together. Otherwise they can call a city official, health department or a industrial hygenist.

Russel, your renter inspections would be more toward cosmetic issues right? Holes in walls. stains on rugs etc… Totally different from a “home inspection”
Could you let me in on how you market this area, we have some colleges in this area.

My agreement would give me cover.

“CLIENT has obtained a right of entry to perform this inspection from the owner or owner’s representative.”

Yep… and since your client is the “owner” of the “lease hold estate” you have every right to be there.

I have done inspections for renters who were taking their landlord to court. I have never yet had to appear (shucks). Apparently the report summary and digital photos was all the judge needed. I have done some reports with folks fighting their insurance company for storm damages, same story there. It got settled at arbitration once the insurance company lawyers saw the photos and summary. I would not be shy about doing these kinds of inspections, especially today with some folks having to struggle to get work. No different than any other inspection for a customer.

I have been thinking about this area of providing inspections.

For renters to document the condition of property before they move in. (this will probably have to be cleared through the landlord since the renter would not have claim to the residence yet).

For renters to document the condition of problems with a property.

For owners to document the condition of property before the renter moves in. or the condition of the property at the time the renter moves out.

the obstacle im having is how to price this service. I don’t feel that these need to encompass a full property inspection, I also don’t see a renter paying close to half of a rental deposit in an attempt to safeguard the return of thier deposit.

any thoughts

Find a higher rent district.:mrgreen:


Around here (Chicago burbs)

$1,000 gets you 2 BR/1BA a roof, neigbors who may or may not speak english an the sound of frequent sirens.

$2,000 gets an extra bedroom, bathroom a nice yard and highly rated schools.

Lots of people became first time landlords when they couldn’t sell their homes. Many going on a second or third lease may want to avoid the issues they had with the first tennant.

Same with tennants - many found themselves renting for the first time in a long time.

I just did a pretty extensive one with a lot of cosmetic defects a couple of weeks ago. I learned my lesson to only write up things that are not working properly, take pictures of incorrectly installed or broken components, and to video the hundreds of cosmetic defects. You could wind up getting yourself into a reporting situation like I did where the time involved wasn’t worth the money after a while. Live and Learn!

Sounds good would you then offer the video on cd to the client for future reference?

Absolutely…that way they have a copy if there was ever a dispute with the landlord at a later date. You can even burn the pictures you take to a file and a copy of the report in PDF format.

Back in March of this year, a client that I had contracted with me to perform a buyer’s inspection, called to request a walk through inspection of the rental townhome he was moving from. I did a very brief photo walk through, did not test any appliances. The home was in good condition. Two weeks ago, I received a call from an attorney, the townhome owner is suing the tennant (my client) for apparent damages and missing appliances! I have to appear in court this Friday to testify regarding the condition of the home during my inspection. I am being paid for my time, but it really is not worth the trouble for myself. So, beware, I will never do another rental walk through again.

Then raise your fee so that it is worthwhile. ;-):p:cool:

Here’s how I handle them. I purposely don’t spend much time with them.
Here’s why:
As an Ohio certified mold tester, I get many calls from renters who are suffering from allergies and ailments. You will get long stories, in which I sympathize with them. Unfortunately, after you get the price quote out, you will hear a long pause. I discount my rates for renters but yet, still the long pause.
In a nutshell, unless mom or dad are paying (usually they will call if they are) you are inspecting up the wrong tree.