As a tenant, be in the know about what it takes for a successful routine inspection
A routine rental inspection can fly by without you even realising. Often a stress free experience, the right amount of preparation is the key to ensuring that the process goes smoothly for all involved.
What is a routine inspection?
A routine inspection is a visual check of a rental property that a property manager will complete to ensure the tenants are following the conditions of their lease and maintaining the property.
A property manager will look to make sure that the property you're renting is in a reasonably clean state and is undamaged.
Professional property managers will appreciate that the property they are inspecting is someone’s home though. In this regard, there is no need to sterilise every inch and corner; a tidy and well-kept effort is often enough.
When can they happen?
In Queensland, routine inspections cannot be performed more than once every three months. A tenant must be given at least seven days’ notice before the inspection occurs.
Privacy and access laws in New South Wales state that a property can be inspected four times in a 12-month period. Seven days written notice must be given to the tenant.
In Victoria, an inspection on a short-term lease property requires 24 hours’ written notice and can only occur between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on any day except public holidays.
Routine rental inspections can happen every six months. The owner cannot enter for an inspection within the first three months of a tenancy though.
On a long-term lease, 14 days' written notice must be given and general inspections can only occur once in any 12 month period.
What you need to do?
Preparing for your routine inspection is a process. By taking it step by step you can tackle any individual problems and make sure you get on top of them in time.
1. Starting early
As with anything in life, preparation is important. Getting an early start to ensure that your home will be ready for inspection is the key to success.
Once you know the date of the inspection, you can plan a schedule around what tasks you need to do. Clean your kitchen one day, vacuum the living area the next.
If the property has a garden, it can be worthwhile getting started on that early. Gardening, while often a relaxing process, can be a very time consuming and energy sapping activity.
Another key step for the process that should be tackled early is ensuring that the property manager’s office has your current phone number and email address. This is so they can contact you and give the appropriate notice.
If you are allowed pets and have them, it is wise to make sure they are secured and safe. It can be a good idea to let somebody look after them for the day if you can.
2. List any issues
A primary benefit of a routine inspection is they allow for a tenant to bring up any issues that they have with the property. These can include:
Reporting structural damage
External structure condition
Problems with amenities like water flow or heating.
While non-urgent repairs are the landlord's responsibility, if the tenant or resident caused the damage, the landlord can ask them to arrange or pay for repairs.
Be sure to make a list of any issues that you do have before the property is inspected so that any repairs or upkeep can be actioned quickly.
Routine inspections also allow for an investor to check in on their asset and make sure that it is being maintained.
3. Proper clean
Cleaning kitchen and bathroom grit, sweeping and vacuuming, dusting and everything that comes between should be at the top of your list when preparing for a routine inspection.
While it may not need to shine like a diamond, a well cleaned property will impress a property manager while the inspection is taking place. This can put you in good stead with them if you would like to maintain living there and want the lease agreement renewed.
A tenant should be cleaning on a regular basis and should not need to be prompted to do so by a routine inspection though.
4. Don’t stress
Routine inspections are a natural way for investors and property managers to see how the property is going. If a tenant has done nothing wrong and hasn’t damaged the property in any way, there should be nothing to worry about.
In most cases, an inspection won’t take longer than 10 minutes. Property managers are busy at the best of times and only really do a quick check on the condition of the property to see if it is being maintained.