What Happens When You Fail An Apartment Inspection?

Fail An Apartment Inspection

Failing an apartment inspection can lead to various consequences depending on the specific circumstances and the terms of the lease agreement. Common outcomes may include receiving a notice to correct the issues, potential fines or penalties, or even eviction if the violations are severe or repeated. Landlords often conduct inspections to ensure compliance with safety, health, and lease requirements.

What Happens When You Fail An Apartment Inspection?

An apartment inspection is a crucial part of maintaining the condition of an apartment and ensuring the safety of its residents. Failure to pass an apartment inspection can have significant repercussions for the tenant. Below are some potential outcomes of failing an apartment inspection:

  1. Warning or Notice to Comply
    • Typically, the initial action when an inspection fails is a warning or a notice to comply. So, the tenant must resolve the issues identified during the inspection.
    • The notice typically outlines the issues that failed during the inspection and how to address them.
    • The tenant usually has a specific period, such as 30 to 60 days, to rectify the issues.
  2. Fine or Penalty
    • Some landlords or property management companies may issue fines if a tenant doesn’t adhere to the terms of the lease, which may include maintaining the property to a certain standard.
    • The fine amounts can vary depending on the severity of the infraction.
  3. Increase in Rent
    • In some scenarios, landlords may decide to raise the rent if the apartment is not maintained as per the lease agreement.
    • This increase could account for the additional costs incurred by the owner for repairs and maintenance.
Inspection Fail CaseResponse
Minor IssuesWarning or Notice to Comply
Serious InfractionsFines, Penalties or Rent Increase
  1. Termination of Lease
    • In extreme cases where the tenant repeatedly fails to address the identified issues, a landlord may have grounds to terminate the lease.
    • This situation often arises in cases of serious negligence or infractions.
  2. Eviction
    • The most severe consequence of failing an apartment inspection is eviction.
    • If the property is severely damaged or if the tenant is violating the lease agreement consistently, eviction proceedings might be initiated.
  3. Loss of Security Deposit
    • Failure to pass an inspection could also lead to loss of the security deposit, especially if the failed items are related to property damage.

What Does a Landlord Look for in an Apartment Inspection?

Apartment inspections can be a daunting experience for both landlords and tenants. This element of property management helps landlords identify any significant issues that could negatively impact the value and condition of their properties. But what exactly does a landlord look for during an apartment inspection? Here are some key aspects they meticulously evaluate:

1. Cleanliness

The overall cleanliness of the apartment is a significant factor during an inspection. Here’s what a landlord observes:

  • Check for indications of poor hygiene, like excessive dirt, grime, or bad odors.
  • Evaluate the condition of the carpet, drapes, blinds, and overall cleanliness.

2. Maintenance Issues

Potential maintenance issues are another crucial aspect landlords check during an inspection. These include:

  • Plumbing issues: Leaky faucets, problematic showers, or blocked drains.
  • Electrical matters: Non-functioning lights, problematic switches, or outdated systems.
  • HVAC systems: Inadequate heating or cooling, noisy fans, or outdated equipment.

3. Wear and Tear

One of the landlord’s objectives during an inspection is to discern between normal wear and tear and excessive damage. Key points considered are:

  • Walls: Scratches, holes, crayon marks or any other damage beyond regular wear and tear.
  • Appliances: Damaged or non-operational appliances, like refrigerators, dishwashers, or ovens.

4. Safety Concerns

The safety of the occupants is always paramount. During an inspection, landlords consider:

  • Security: Locks and bolts on all exterior doors and windows. Functioning peepholes.
  • Fire Safety: Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Fire extinguishers.

5. Lease Compliance

Checking if tenants comply with the lease agreement forms an integral part of the inspection:

  • Number of Occupants: Check for unreported or unauthorized inhabitants.
  • Pets: The presence of pets is not reported or allowed under the lease agreement.

What Are Some Of The Reasons For Failing Apartment Inspection?

Several reasons can lead to apartment inspection failure, including;

If The Floor Is Damaged Or Dirty

A damaged or dirty floor is one of the main reasons you can fail an apartment inspection. Whether the flooring in your house is made of hardwood, laminate, tiles, or carpet, ensure to clean or replace it before the inspection process. Your landlord may not be willing to replace the flooring since it is quite expensive. Be sure to remove any stains or marks that were not there when you first moved in. 

You can buy a stain remover to do the job or hire a steam cleaner. Doing this will cost you less than the deposit you are likely to forfeit when you fail the inspection. It would help to vacuum the floor or use a broom and a mop to make the flooring shine. 

Cracks Or Holes On The Walls

The walls can get holes or cracks when putting your artwork or décor. Ensure that you look for any such holes and fill them before the inspection process. You can purchase some sandpaper and spackling paste from your local home improvement store to help seal the holes and cracks. Ensure that you also remove any scuff marks and stains on the walls since they may also contribute to the inspection failing. 

You will need to cover the holes with spackle and then smooth them with sandpaper after it dries up. You can use a thin layer of the spackle or wipe them clean using a wet towel or paper for scuff marks. 

Broken Equipment

As a tenant, it is your responsibility to ensure that all the appliances are in proper working condition during your tenure. Ensure that you use the appliances only for their intended purpose and clean them using the right cleaning solutions. You can also wipe the appliances to remove any dust particles or dirt from their surfaces and inner sides before the inspection commences. 

Damage As A Result Of Water

Some of the issues in your apartment, like mold growth, discoloration on the walls, sagging floors, and cracks, may result from water damage. You can prevent such problems from occurring by wiping up spills immediately and keeping your kitchen and bathroom dry all the time. It could be helpful to put mats in places prone to water exposure, such as underneath sinks, and outside bathtubs and showers, as these can help absorb water. 

Breaching The Contract

A tenant is responsible for upholding all the rules in the lease agreement. If your apartment does not allow smoking, be sure not to do it regardless of how many times you clean. You should also not sublet or have a roommate in your apartment if it is not allowed in the contract. 

Some apartments prohibit the keeping of pets such as dogs or cats. Ensure that you don’t breach your contract by keeping pets against your landlord’s wishes. Besides shedding their fur, cats, and dogs can also stain your floor and leave the house smelling bad even after cleaning up. 

Missing Or Broken Furniture

If you live in a furnished apartment, it is your responsibility to ensure that the furniture remains in the best condition possible. If the furniture undergoes wear and tear, be sure to get it repaired to its original shape. You can also get someone to clean the cushions and paint the frames, then wipe the furniture to give it a shine. 

How Should You Prepare For An Apartment Inspection?

Failing a rental inspection is quite inconvenient. It does not only deny you the opportunity to renew your contract, but you could also not get back your full deposit. You may also not get a recommendation from the property management firm when you move out. It is, therefore, essential to do all you can to make the process a success. 

This guide gives some tips for preparing for an inspection, including;

Keep Your Pets Away

Your rental inspection procedure should be as smooth as possible without unnecessary distractions. Even in apartments where pets are allowed, make sure to remove them before the inspection day. Dogs, cats, and other pets have a natural aversion to strangers, and they get nervous and anxious in their presence. These creatures will bark, growl, and hiss on noticing new people in the compound or house. 

You can save your furry friends from the discomfort of seeing ‘intruders’ by keeping them away. If you have a friend or relative who visits your place often, the chances are that the pet is familiar with them. Be sure to request the person take care of your animals until the procedure is over. 

Ensure That Your Place Is Spotless

Before you first move into an apartment as a tenant, the landlord ensures that the place is as clean as possible. They will do all the necessary repairs and fix any appliances that need fixing. During the inspection, the landlord will expect to find the place as it was when they gave it to you,

Make sure to clean up any mess on the lawn and inside the house. Remove any mold on the floor, and get rid of stains on the carpet and tiles. It is also essential to clean all the windows and doors to remove dirt and dust. Ensure that you also clean up any drawings on the wall that your kids may have drawn and clean the furniture to look good. 

Give A Touch To The Garden.

Make sure that your garden, if there, is in its best shape possible. Since the landlord adds a garden to make the place attractive, make sure it is as nice-looking as possible. Be sure to water the plants and flowers and trim the hedges to the right height and size. 

Note Any Issues That Need The Landlord’s Attention

You should note any issues requiring the landlord to fix, such as leaky roofs, toilets, or shower hoses. If you have any loose-fitting sockets that keep blowing your bulbs, be sure to bring them to the landlord’s attention. The landlord is responsible for fixing all structural repairs, and you don’t have to shoulder the blame for all damages. 

But, if the damage is a result of your negligence, make sure that you fix it before the inspection date. 

Are There Legal Reasons For Apartment Inspection?

There are a variety of legal reasons for a landlord to perform rental inspections, including;

Routine Repairs And Maintenance

As a landlord, one needs to inspect their apartments often and carry out the necessary repairs and maintenance. A tenant may also request you to repair and service something. But, even in such cases, a landlord can only enter the premises within reasonable hours. While different states have specified times for apartment inspection, it is important to carry out this procedure within business hours (between 9 am and 5 pm). 

But, if a tenant requests the repair, the landlord can enter the premises at any time they mutually agree on. For routine repairs, make sure to give reasonable notice, usually 24 to 48 hours, depending on your state and local laws. 

For Improvements, Alterations, Or Decorations

A landlord has the right to make aesthetic alterations to the premises. For example, you may want to install new fixtures or repaint the apartment. In such scenarios, the landlord should give enough notice to the tenant and observe the reasonable hour entry requirement. 

Showing The Apartment To Prospective Tenants

A landlord also has the right to show the premises to prospective tenants, but one needs to give adequate notice. The landlord should notify the current tenant and give them enough time to be out of the premises during the showings. 

During The Move-Out

It is also necessary for the landlord to inspect the apartment when a tenant is moving out to assess any damages. Inspecting the apartment during the tenant’s exit will let you know how much of the security deposit to refund. The landlord will also inspect the unit before a new tenant moves in to check if something needs repair and fix the same. 


An apartment inspection is crucial for a tenant since it will dictate whether one gets back their security deposit or not. It may also affect the lease renewal and getting a reference letter from the landlord. It is, therefore, necessary that a tenant does everything possible to avoid the failure of this important procedure. 



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