House owners may periodically need to inspect their house to make sure everything works correctly and that it adheres to certain safety standards. In order to do this, the house owner needs to inspect the house personally to see first-hand that everything is in order. However, tenants also have rights, and the house owner needs to send a routine inspection letter to the tenant to inform him or her of the time and date the owner plans to make an inspection.
The routine inspection letter should be sent enough in advance to give the tenant time to prepare. It may be polite for the house owner to do the inspection on a weekend, so the tenant need not take time off work to be present. The letter should give at least 24 hours’ notice, but it may be more polite to inform a week in advance. It is recommended for landlords to schedule inspections during normal business hours. The lease contract may stipulate a specific amount of advance notice the house owner must give before an inspection. The letter should clearly state the aim of the inspection and refer to the relevant part of the lease contract. For example, it may say, the landlord is planning to inspect the plumbing and taps to make sure there are no unseen leaks. The owner may want to inspect for mold damage or other structural issues.
The landlord should make sure he or she understands the law in their state about inspections. Some states require the house owner to have a specific reason to enter the house and limit the time a house owner can request admittance. Some owners are very respectful of their tenant’s privacy, but some are not and may believe that because they own the house, they have the right to enter any time they want. However, house owners do have the right to make inspections, they just need to follow the applicable laws. In some states, if the tenant refuses to allow the owner to enter the property when he or she has given proper notice, it is grounds for eviction of that tenant. There are also legal provisions that allow the owner to enter a property without prior notice such as after a fire or flood.
In some states, it is against the law for a landlord to schedule an inspection for no reason. For example, if the tenant is planning to move out, the house owner will want to make an inspection to determine if there is any damage that should be subtracted from the deposit. Other reasons include abandonment of the house by the tenant and emergency repairs. Proper notice must be given if the house owner wants to make upgrades to the property or other improvements in the event he or she wants to sell the property or needs to attract new tenants. They may need to provide access to an outside contractor such as a plumber or painter.
The letter should make it clear that the house owner plans to enter the house and perform an inspection whether the tenant is home or not. The house owner may tell the tenant that he or she is welcome to select a time and date that is convenient for both, if the tenant wants to be present for the inspection. Legally, a house owner must inform the tenant of an impending inspection, but is not legally bound to reschedule if the time or date is inconvenient for the tenant to be present.
The letter should also inform the tenant if the owner plans to bring another person inside the house during the inspection. It could be an electrician, plumber or other contractor. The house owner should assure the tenant that the house would be properly secured upon leaving. This includes locking windows and doors. It is also polite for the owner to leave a business card inside the house when he or she leaves to inform the tenant that the inspection is completed.
Below is a sample routine inspection letter. It may be hand delivered by the house owner to the tenant, or it can be sent by registered mail with a return receipt requested to make sure it was received. If the letter is mailed, the house owner should allow at least six days for the letter to be delivered before the advanced warning time.
Sample Routine Inspection Letter to Tenant
Name of Tenant
Address of Tenant
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Landlord
Address of Landlord
City, State, Zip Code
RE: This is notification of an inspection of the house at the above address.
Dear Name of Tenant:
This letter is formal notice that I will be inspecting your home on DATE at TIME. I have noticed that there are patches in the lawn that are growing greener and faster than other areas. This is often caused by a leak in a main water pipe or sewage pipe that leads to the road. I plan to bring Name of Person who is a plumber with Name of Company. I would like the plumber to check for leaks throughout the house and to check for damp areas where mold may be growing or could grow.
According to the lease agreement and the laws in STATE, I am giving you one-week notice before my intended inspection. I understand you may want to be present during the inspection, so if you can inform me at least three days in advance of my intended date, I can reschedule a date and time that is convenient for you within the next week. I do not want to wait longer than that because water damage increases rapidly.
I can be reached at Phone Number or Email Address if you would like to reschedule.
Signature of Landlord
Printed Name of Landlord
By Andre Bradley