I own and manage 27 rental property units in Indianapolis, and also manage homes for other owners. I love my work and have gotten fairly adept at it over the years. When I consult with people who are considering getting into the business, their greatest concern it that tenants will totally trash the rental unit.
Well, yes, that can happen, but there’s an easy fix for that. Do occasional walk-throughs, and make that privilege part of your lease agreement. My lease states, “Tenant will allow landlord to show, make repairs or inspect apartment when necessary.” I explain that the home is in excellent condition and I hope they’ll maintain it. I’ll be coming in — with proper notice, of course — every once in a while, to do a walk-through.
The key word here is “proper notice.” Tenants have rights to the property. Don’t ever think that, just because you own the rental, you can go over there unannounced and gain entry, even to the back yard or garage. Your tenant (if so inclined) could order you off the property and be correct in doing so! If you refused, he/she could call the police and have you arrested and hauled off.
By all means, do put a clause in your lease that allows you access to your property. It’s your asset and you must protect it. But make sure you give your tenant notice, usually 24 hours, before you come. It’s common courtesy, but it’s also the law!