The move-in inspection is an incredibly important step in the process of bringing new residents into a community, but many HOAs don’t handle them with the level of care that they should. An inspection report is a great way to settle conflicts between an HOA and a resident before they escalate to that level. By getting both parties to officially record that they agree about the state of the home and the responsibilities of each, both will be on the same page when it comes to what needs to be done, and will have an official record to check their grievances against when conflicts do arise.
Performing the Inspection
- The new resident and a member of the management team should complete the inspection together as soon after the lease is signed as possible. The longer the wait between move-in and inspection, the more chance there is for conflict between each parties’ accounts of the state of the residence. Each party should record their thoughts and concerns, and come to an agreement on how it should be handled (which then needs to be recorded on official documentation).
- Including a member of the maintenance team in the inspection is also a good idea. This gives maintenance a chance to get in-person feedback, establishes a relationship between new residents and maintenance people early, and creates the impression that the HOA takes maintenance concerns seriously. It also allows maintenance to explain how the appliances work right away, clear up any questions or misconceptions that new residents might have, and schedule any necessary repairs immediately.
- Scheduling a follow-up meeting also allows management to create a good impression, and also gives the HOA a chance to officially document that any necessary repairs have been completed.
After the Inspection
Once the inspection has been completed, it is very important that the HOA have a system to effectively review and store the reports. Being able to look up reports easily lets managers keep track of the conditions of residents, and having them on hand is an absolute necessity in cases of conflict between residents and the association. Without a valid inspection report, the association won’t be able to prove damage that has been caused once the resident moves out, and without documentation that necessary repairs and maintenance were performed, residents can press a claim against the community. Both of these things can cost the association money, in both legal fees and maintenance costs, that would otherwise be covered by the resident.
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