Before a person buys a home, their realtor or their lender may suggest or request a home inspection to ensure the property is safe to live in. Home inspections take a look at potential safety hazards in a home and help homebuyers understand the financial impact of repairs that may be imminent, and may devalue a home. However, much less is talked about is the need for potential renters to have a building inspection.
The first reason tenants tend to avoid having an inspection is they may assume the landlord is going to take care of any major problems that could occur such as water pipe leaks, roofs collapsing or other hazards. While the property owner should be aware of and take care of issues before they occur or immediately as they occur, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the landlord doesn’t have the money to make the repairs and may opt for the cheapest fix, which can include covering holes in the roof without fixing them, leading to an increase in energy bills due to air escaping. Other times the landlord may take their time to have repairs done.
Cost: The cost of the inspection is based on the square footage of the property. Most home inspections cost several hundred dollars, which can be a pretty big deterrent for those who are considering renting instead of buying. However, investing in building inspection can help identify problems that can lead to renters having to move out due to mould allergies or other illnesses. Unstable foundations or leaks in roofs can cause to the property being flooded or damaged, which doesn’t have to be replaced by the homeowner and would be covered by renter’s insurance. If major repairs are needed, tenants may need to move out for some time causing inconvenience and added expense.
Liability: If a renter finds him/herself in a position where the home is a health hazard or has damages that haven’t been fixed, he/she can always take the landlord to court. However, the persons living there may need to move out, and until a court returns a judgment on fault, the renter will be responsible for court costs and endure the headache of finding another place to live until the concerns are taken care of.
Leases: Read the fine print. Some rental agreements may have clauses saying they are not responsible for reimbursing expenses paid out of pocket by the tenant, or that they do not cover certain aspects of problems that arise. If renters are unsure, consulting a lawyer to look it over is the best course of action.
Home inspections are not just for homebuyers or sellers. Renters often benefit from having a home inspection done. Not only that, a home inspection will help them know what they are getting into.