How to protect yourself in case of bond disputes
A condition report is a document given to tenants at the beginning of their tenancy by the landlord or property manager. This document records the general state of repair and condition of the property on a room-by-room basis, including fittings and fixtures. It should be filled out by the landlord before new tenants move in and provided to the new tenants to complete themselves and provide to the owner/manager after moving in.
Condition reports are used as a reference point when tenants move out of the property to determine if there was any damage caused to the property while they were living there. At the final property inspection, the condition report is referred to and each item listed in it is checked off to make certain that the property is in the same condition as when the tenant took possession. It is at this inspection that any items that need to be replaced or repaired by the tenant are identified.
Why do I need a Condition Report?
NSW law requires a Condition Report to be completed by the tenant and landlord at the beginning and end of the tenancy. You must use the standard form condition report provided by NSW Fair Trading.
Keeping track of the condition of your property, whether as a renter or a landlord, is a key piece of evidence for the end of a tenancy. By having this documentation, you can determine if anything is missing, damaged, or broken over the course of the tenancy, and is no longer in the same condition as when the tenant began renting the property.
If you are a renter, it is recommended that you take photos of the property before moving in while you’re filling out the condition report. This will cover you in case something was damaged before you moved in, and you can provide the landlord with the documentation to ask for it to be fixed ASAP.
As a landlord, having these condition reports helps in case there is a dispute about replacing missing items and paying for cleaning or damages. Your tenant should return one completed copy of the condition report to you within 7 days of receiving it and keep the other for their records. Remember, visit the property, and describe all damage no matter how minor, and photos of the property should be shared between the tenant, landlord, and property manager.
What are my obligations as a Tenant?
Australian legislation allows tenants several days to check the details completed by the owner or property manager on the condition report and confirm or disagree with the provided details. Keeping in mind that the condition report can be used as evidence in case of a dispute regarding who is responsible for paying for cleaning, damage, or replacement of broken or missing items at the end of the lease. As a tenant, it is therefore in your best interest to be as observant as possible.
If there are areas of the report you do not agree with, note it down on the appropriate section of the condition report. In the case that you have not returned the completed report to the owner or agent within the requested days, the condition of the property is deemed to match the report provided by the landlord or property manager. It is essential to make sure that both you and the landlord agree on the contents of the condition report before you sign it. You do not need to complete a new condition report upon lease renewals or extensions.
It is in the best interests of both the tenant and landlord to be present when completing the Outgoing Condition Report – this reduces confusion and speeds up any dispute resolution process.
What if I have housemates?
Condition reports are very important if there are multiple people living on the premises, as they help in attributing liability to individual co-tenants for any damage caused to the property. Every time a housemate is removed or added to a lease the change is made at the bond board, with a change of shared tenancy form.
Before the new tenant moves in you should arrange a property inspection and record any repair and damage not documented on the Entry Condition Report. It is important to ensure this is done each time a tenant changes as it enables you to attribute liability to the correct tenant if the property has been damaged by them, rather than trying to chase them after they have left the premises.
Why are routine inspections important?
As with any property, rentals are bound to suffer general wear and tear. It’s when the wear and tear is outside of the expected norm or extensive damage is done that condition reports come in handy. By having routine inspections, you are giving the tenants opportunities to show or discuss any trouble areas in the property and get it fixed. Each state and territory have their own allowances on how many inspections are allowed each year, however you must be notified of the upcoming inspection by your property manager or landlord.
Inspections should cover the following:
- The lease terms are being honoured.
- The dwelling is being maintained in a clean and tidy condition.
- The grounds are being maintained in a clean and tidy condition.
- The property is not being damaged in any way.
- There are no more than the number of people specified on the tenancy agreement living at the property.
- No pets are housed at the property, unless otherwise agreed to.
- Any maintenance issues are identified, so they can be attended to.
Are you a property owner looking for help completing the Pre-Tenancy Condition Report?
If this is your first time renting out your property, it pays to have a reputable and experienced building inspector, such as Vital Building & Pest Inspections, thoroughly inspect the property prior to handing it over to a property manager or tenant. By having someone come to your property to identify any potential trouble spots, such as pest infestation or damage or maintenance issues, you are able to have them fixed before someone moves in and potentially make it worse or be injured.
As a property owner you should also have a pest inspection and maintenance inspection done at regular intervals, to ensure your property is in good condition and that the health and safety of your tenants is protected. Call Vital Building and Pest Inspections today on 0401 012 074 or use our online Contact form to have one of our friendly staff contact you. Alternatively, complete our Get a Quote form to request a free quote today!