Project Sentinel's Rent Watch had an interesting item in the Apartment Management Magazine that addressed a question I get alot. Basically, the question is; who must initiate the pre-departure inspection of a rental property, the tenant or the landlord?
The answer given was as technical and long winded as one would expect from an organization that must cover its butt to avoid a lawsuit for bad advice. Me? I have to do the same thing, only with less words.
According to california civil code 1950.5, a landlord or agent shall notify the tenant in writing regarding the option for holding a pre-departure inspection. The notice must also inform the tenant of their right to be present during the inspection.
When I do a pre-departure inspection my purpose is to identify potential repairs and allow the tenant the opportunity to make those repairs or have them paid for by their security deposit or portion thereof.
The law also dictates requirements about itemized statements that specify repairs or cleaning that may affect the disposition of the security deposit. Most tenants are very open to this inspection because generally it saves them money. But what if I don't want to do an ispection? At whose option, is the inspection? Mine, theirs? Answer: Both. The rental contracts I use have provisions that express my intention to do a pre-departure inspection but doesn't obligate me to do one. Well, what if the tenant wants one? He or She gets one. If requested by the tenant - I must carry it out. No big deal!
A note of caution - I GIVE NO ADVICE - just practical experience. You should not consider anything herein to be considered sound legal advice. Any questions regarding matters of law should be addressed by an attorney specializing in the matter at hand which, I am not.