You’ve heard horror stories about bad tenants. Here’s mine…sort of.

I bought my company in 2010 with an existing portfolio of about 115 rental units. Most of them are located in Cody and were easy to visit and even inspect. Others were located 30 miles away, including the subject home. I quickly learned the previous property manager took the unit over from another REALTOR but had never been inside the home. The tenants had lived there for about 11 years. They always paid rent on time, never bounced a check, and rarely had a complaint or maintenance issue. The manager assumed “No news is good news” and left them alone. No inspection. No drive-by. Nothing…for 11 years.

I discovered this just a few weeks after buying the company and put this home high on my priority list for a visit. It took a couple weeks and several phone calls to get a response from the tenants (first warning sign) but everyone continued to assure me they were good tenants. The wife finally called to apologize because she was buying a home and had been too busy to respond to my request for an inspection. She said they were moving out in two weeks (second warning sign) and asked if I could hold off on inspecting it until they were completely out. I agreed because it couldn’t possibly make much difference after 11 years.

Two weeks went by and she still wasn’t out (third warning sign). I was very busy and the home was 30 minutes away so I continued to hold. Another ten days went by before they called to tell me the home was “empty, clean, and ready to go!” They even thanked me for my patience. They really were nice!

Two days later I drove down to inspect and this is what I found:

To make a long story short, paying rent on time doesn’t mean they are taking care of the rental! In fact, some tenants pay on time and keep quiet to avoid discovery. Every appliance was beyond repair. The nearly new washer/dryer was missing, as was all the carpet downstairs. Holes in nearly every wall, some the size of a head. The carpet looked as though it hadn’t been vacuumed in 11 years. Disgusting!

So the big question is, how do we keep this from happening? Inspections! Every home we manage is inspected every time we renew a lease. On a six-month lease, we’ll inspect at the end of six months, whether the tenant is moving out or extending their lease. Same with a one-year lease. If a tenant is problematic with paying rent on time or if they have lease violations, we can also schedule an inspection. Because problems in one area often indicate problems in other areas.

The best part? Our new inspection software allows us to complete an inspection (with pictures and notes) and then publish it to our Owner Portal and Tenant Portal where they can view/print/download the complete report 24/7. We hold tenants accountable and owners hold us accountable. Everyone benefits!

If you want to learn more about inspections or any other aspect of Property Management, please contact us today!