Some of us have been there before—you get a notice from your agent to say there’s a routine inspection coming up, perhaps tomorrow, and the house is a mess. Or if it’s not, you automatically wonder if the neighbours have complained, and the agents are coming to keep an eye on you and potentially kick you out. But it’s not actually all bad. Routine inspections assist the renters, the property manager, and the rental provider and are necessary under a rental agreement.
As a rental provider, you will know when your agent will next inspect your property. Knowing this will bring clarity and assurance that your property is being maintained and avoid any nasty surprises when your renters move out.
A routine inspection allows the agent and rental provider to understand the state in which the renter is keeping the rental property. It ensures open communication and steps are made to keep the property in the best condition possible. It also allows the agent to pinpoint and fix issues before they get worse, educate the renter, identify maintenance requirements, and in some cases, identify if a renter needs to be evicted.
This blog looks at why routine inspections are important, the nitty gritty—what tenancy laws suggest is a reasonable amount of conducted reviews and what renters need to know.
Six reasons why routine inspections are important
- It is a proactive approach to identifying and avoiding problems before they happen.
- It helps prevent small issues from becoming major problems, like:
- a small patch of mould becoming a property-wide issue
- identifying repairs that need to be made before they become unsafe,
- ensuring the rental occupier is caring for your property properly, or,
- highlighting something that might breach the rental agreement.
- It is important to check what condition the renter is keeping the property in to avoid damage to the property that is time-consuming or costly to repair. If it ends up costing more than the bond, this has the potential to leave the rental provider out of pocket.
- Identifying maintenance before it’s a problem is often a job for a professional. That’s why an agent must inspect a property regularly, as a renter may miss warning signs of an upcoming problem.
- It allows the renter to report maintenance issues that need attention.
- Routine inspections keep communication between all relevant parties (rental provider, renter, and agent) open and give an opportunity to ensure everyone is on the same page.
What a property manager is looking for during an inspection
Believe it or not, agents are not primarily interested in a property’s tidiness and cleanliness. While important because it promotes upkeep and care of fixtures and fittings, the issues property managers are looking for involve maintenance issues.
- Kitchen appliances that may be close to needing repair or replacement,
- structural integrity (looking for cracks in the walls and ceiling),
- assessing mould and dampness,
- testing door handles and locks and whether they are closing and locking easily,
- noting the condition of carpets and tiles and whether they require cleaning or replacement.
- Assessing the needs for potential future improvements to the property, so rental providers can budget in advance.
- Identifying any potential safety hazards that need to be addressed promptly.
This allows the agent to notify the owner if things are becoming shabby or unsafe, and they can prepare a budget for maintenance or replacement. This ensures the value of their asset as well as keeping the renters in the house in harmony.
Routine inspections under Victorian law
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, the first routine inspection can occur three months after a new renter moves in and then every six months. These twice-yearly inspections exclude the initial and final inspections
Here are some additional key points vital to understand if you are in a rental agreement:
- The landlord may or may not attend the assessment with the agent.
- All property inspections must be done within reasonable hours—during business hours or at a time mutually agreed upon by the renter and the agent in exceptional circumstances.
- Suppose a renter has failed to keep the property “clean and tidy, whilst avoiding any potential damage” under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. In that case, they may be issued a written warning and request to re-inspect the property within 14 days (This is to ensure the renter has fixed the issue).
How renters can prepare well for a routine inspection
- Clean and tidy the house beforehand. It shows pride and care in the property, and will give the landlord peace of mind that their renters are responsible.
- Secure or relocate all pets on the day, if possible. This is for the safety of the agent and landlord (if attending) and eliminates potential obstacles.
- Create a list of any property or maintenance issues or questions to raise. If you cannot attend the appointment, email your property manager and follow up after the date. This ensures all parties are involved and working together to achieve the best outcomes: a well-maintained property that adds value for years to come and happy renters, landlords and agents!
If you’re looking for a property manager to keep your investment in excellent condition with respectful, reliable renters, get in touch with the Dynamic Residential Property Management team today.