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rental property inspections

I am looking for some advice on inspecting my rental property on a periodic basis.  Do most landlords inspect their property periodically?  How often?  I am suspicious that my tenant might be trying to hide something from me.  Possibly some type of illegal activity, such as drug activity.  I have recently discovered that my tenant's boyfriend has had drug and alcohol problems in the past and has served time in prison for drugs.  A few weeks back, I scheduled a visit to property to do yard maintenance.  Tenant was aware that I would be at the property, but that I would not be entering the property.  Due to an electrical issue at property on the day of yard maintenance, I needed to enter the property.  In order to correct the electrical problem, I needed to access the GFI outlet in the master bathroom.  Tenant was visibly uncomfortable with me entering the property and especially with me entering the master bedroom.  Tenant did not allow me to enter the bedroom.

Landlord must give at least 2 days notice to enter the property for non-emergencies. The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen or contractors.
Thanks for the information, Denise.  My lease says exactly that.  So, I'm thinking I will spring "surprise" inspection on my tenant and give her the minimum 48 hours notice.  Thanks, again.  Heather
Ok, I now have a related question.  I recently notified my tenants that their lease will terminate, giving them 30 days to move.  I have contacted them by phone, then in person to notify them of 2 showing appointments for next week.  A letter will go out today.  They have told me that they will not allow me in the home to show the property.  Do I have a right to enforce the provisions of my lease agreement which allows me the right of entry?  If so, how do I address their refusal at the time of showing?  My prospective new tenants are driving 2 hours to view the home.  Also, can I charge them for rent during a period of vacancy if I simply am not able to get inside to show the property?  Rather than save myself the embarassment of an arguement, I may just cancel the appointments.
Kim .you do not know what the inside is like, you do not want to show your property if its trashed. I would myself give them a date myself and go myself with a police officer and check your rental out. You possibly will end up in court, you might want to get a lawyers opinunion ,if they will not allow you possession. They have to get out but when? they could drag there feet and cost you some money saying they cannot find another place for any all kinds of reasons.
Make sure you bring a Police officer just in case you need a witness or threats .
The police have been called and did come out.  I was told that it was a civil matter and that they would not come out again unless it was criminal.
Well, what was the out come of this?
The outcome is yet to be determined.  I've sent a letter indicating that vacancy costs and damages will result if the property is not made available giving them 72 hours to change their position.  If I do not hear from them by then, I will simply cancel the appts and call it done until they are moved out then sue for monetary damages.   Funny, I've never had to analyze my lease agreements to such detail.  This will be a great learning experience for me.    If it weren't for this website to have covered almost every legal aspect of a landlord's rights, I would not be in such good shape.  Certain clauses that need to be addressed should be added, but overall, its a great binding contract.    Oh, one more thing, it's a monthly lease which is so much easier to deal with than annual.  You can terminate tenancy giving only 30 days notice and for no reason.  Cons are, so can your tenants.  A sure fight is ready to begin, wish me luck!
In most states the only way a tenant will move is by a judges order. It takes time to set up a court date, I know what you are going thru, there so nice to you until they get possession ,then the dogs and cats come in and the boyfriends  and the drinking and the rubbish. Keep us posted.
I know exactly what you mean.  I've not ever had such terrible tenants to deal with.  Nasty and sue happy.  I am lucky though, as long as I stick to the Michigan law timeline to a "T", I will have them physically removed by the end of August.  The home is beautiful and lasts advertised only a few short days and as long as it is rented before vacancy season (in MI its Jan, Feb and March), I will be okay.  Such a shame that people are taken advantage of.
I'm late to this conversation, but Kim C provides a perfect example of why so many landlord's find themselves in trouble.  You can't sign a contract and expect tenants to understand or adhere to it when you don't know it yourself.  You should be able to explain it up front, in plain language, prior to the tenant signing.  Otherwise they can claim they didn't understand the legal jargon used in most contracts, and in some cases they will be successful.    If you're just copying someone else's contract, you might be using something that wouldn't hold water in a court of law.  It might have clauses that are illegal based on state/local statutes.  And if you don't know what it contains, you're an accident waiting to happen.    I build my own contracts.  I ensure they meet all legal requirements and that it is enforceable in court.  I explain it to my tenants in plain english before they sign to ensure they understand it.  When they violate the contract, I notify them in writing and cite the specific clause(es) they are violating so they can look it up themselves.  And when I act against a tenant violation, I know that I have the legal system behind me because everything is done in writing and in accordance with state/local requirements.  Anything else is begging for problems.
Thank you for you information
My tenant failed her bi-annual inspection.  After giving her two weeks to correct everything, she asked for another week which I gave her.  Well, three weeks later nothing was done.  The carpet throughout the house is filthy with dirty spots where the dog has urinated all over it. Not to mention litter, dirt and dirty clothes on the floor.  The bathrooms shower walls now have mold and mildew growing on it. And the yard is full of leaves and pine needles.  Nothing was cleaned, what can or should I do since she has failed the second inspection?
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