As a landlord, you may not always have the time or access to conduct a thorough inspection of your rental units. While you shouldn’t cut corners in this area, you can save yourself some time during peak busy periods by honing in on the four main inspection areas in which you are most likely to have trouble.

Focus on floors

Flooring can be expensive to repair and replace depending on the type in question, and it’s often subjected to a damage. If you’ve got hardwood, take a close look at it for strains, scratches and burn marks. The same goes for carpets, which you should have cleaned professionally at least once a year. Any minor damage you notice now could become major later, so determine the cause and advise the tenants to change the bad habit that is contributing to it. For example, floor scratches could be the result of a chair that needs pads on the feet before it begins to actually gouge the floor.

Watch the walls

Naturally, your tenants may want to hang up some photos and other wall art. A few holes aren’t very expensive to fix, but large holes or an excessive number of them can turn into a project quickly. Careless moving of furniture or a doorknob swinging into a wall can also cause damage, so be on the lookout for wall damage and habits of your tenants that may be creating more work for you in the future.

Be alert to trouble activity signs

Illegal activities in your property can cause all sorts of problems, from property damage to trouble with law enforcement and neighbors. While gauging for illegal activity isn’t necessarily easy, there are a few red flags you might notice during a landlord inspection, such as blocked or boarded windows or tenants who dispose of their trash rather than put it out for pickup. If you suspect something unsavory is going on in a rental unit, head trouble off at the pass by contacting local law enforcement immediately.

Check for safety and fire hazards

Even if your tenant is causing a safety issue, you’re still responsible for taking care of the issue or warning the tenant about it. Hoarding, for example, can pose a fire hazard and provides an environment that is ripe for pest infestation. All exits should be clear of obstructions, and any carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be tested regularly.

As a landlord, you need to protect your property and your tenants. Make sure you keep lines of communication between yourself and your tenants open, and perform periodic checks to ensure everything is as it should be in your rental units.