Whether you are a landlord, property manager or tenant, regular rental inspection will come in handy.
The number of homeowners in Australia has been declining in recent years, with a third of households choosing to rent. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic also contributed significantly to the decline in residential property ownership. While renting a home has attractive pros (such as the flexibility to move for opportunities), it also has its share of cons (like an unexpected rent increase).
One thing which renting and homeownership have in common is the responsibility of keeping the property well-maintained. In case of renting, this obligation is set out in the rental agreement. This is why landlords conduct a routine rental property inspection. Here is what you need to know about rental inspections and how Vital can help you.
Making the Most of Rental Inspections
Rental inspections are a necessary evil — they can be stress-inducing and often inconvenient. Fortunately, events like this do not have to be so taxing on the part of renters. It takes a bit of planning for the inspection day so that you can make time to tidy up the place.
Don’t worry so much about the tiniest details, though; the place will look like it’s lived in because it is lived in! But there are certain things you have to pay special attention to, which will be discussed in detail later.
On your part as the renter, you can make the most of rental inspections by taking this opportunity to express your concerns. Take it as your chance to bring matters that need the attention of your landlord or property manager. It could be maintenance issues such as clogged drains or malfunctioning smoke detectors, or security problems like faulty window locks.
Rental Inspection: How Often it is Carried Out
Rental inspections typically happen quarterly, but it depends on which state you are living in. If the rental property is being managed by an agent, specific state laws require that the agent or landlord provide adequate notice to the tenants of upcoming inspection:
- NSW — Landlords or agents may conduct rental inspection up to 4 times in a 12-month period, and should provide a written notice at least 7 days in advance.
- WA — Landlord or agents may do rental inspection up to 4 times in a 12-month period but not more than that. They should send tenants a written notice regarding inspection at least 7 to 14 days in advance.
- SA — Landlords or agents have the right to do an inspection once every four weeks, with 7 to 14 days written notice sent to the tenants.
- NT — Landlords or agents may conduct routine inspection no more than once every 3 months with at least 7 days advance notice. This may also depend upon the agreement between the landlord and the tenant.
- ACT — Landlords or agents may perform routine inspections twice in a 12-month period, with no less than 7 days advance notice to the tenants.
- VIC — Landlords or agents may carry out one general inspection in any 6-month period only after the first 3 months of the lease agreement. For the long-term lease, one general inspection is allowed in any 12-month period. Tenants must receive a written notice at least 7 days in advance.
- QLD — Landlords or agents may inspect rental properties once in a 3-month period with a minimum of 7 days advance notice to the tenants. This term, however, may be altered by mutual agreement.
- TAS — Landlords and agents may conduct an inspection once every 3 months or longer, depending on the lease agreement. They must send written notice to tenants at least 24 hours in advance.
What are the things involved in a rental property inspection? The answer can vary, but landlords generally inspect any or all of the following:
- Gates and front door — check the handles and locks and see if they work properly.
- Garden and yards — clean the area and remove rubbish and other objects that may be left lying around, such as a garden hose and tools. You might need to do some trimming and mowing, too.
- Decks, balcony, and patios — make sure that the area is also clean and neat.
- Garage or parking — clean and organise the items in the area and check if the lock and other security are working.
- Walls and floors — these surfaces are among the first that landlords pay attention to during routine inspections. Clean the walls and floors of any marks and dirt, taking care not to damage the surface. Pay attention to the area behind the stove for any grime and other splashes.
- Windows, window frames, and sill — remove any dust that has accumulated on these areas and give them a good wipe down to remove marks.
- Cabinets, cupboards, shelves, drawers, and other storage — wipe down dirt and grimes on the surface and handles. Arrange the items neatly; it is easier to do a check inside the shelves and storage when things are not topsy-turvy.
- Lights — check that they work and are properly fitted, with no loose wirings.
- Smoke alarms — since it is a legal requirement that smoke alarms are tested in front of tenants before they move in, it is expected that this equipment remains in good condition.
- Carpet — a good vacuum session will make it look fresh and clean.
- Taps — close the taps properly.
- Shower, toilet, and tiles — make sure they look clean and presentable. Scrub, disinfect, and wipe surfaces, including the grout. Clean the glass and mirror and wipe off fingerprint marks with old newspaper or rag.
- Sink — make sure there are no dirty dishes left on the sink before the inspection starts. Clean and disinfect the sink and wipe it down.
- Oven, microwave, and other appliances — these will always need a thorough clean. Clean the ovens using an oven cleaning kit. This will make the job easier and faster. Take out all the fridge contents and throw away old food items. Clean inside the fridge and the items as well before placing them back. Wipe the dishwasher and washing machine interiors clean.
- AC units — dust and clean the air con, pay special attention to the front casing and filter.
- Stove and exhaust hood — clean the hood filter and make sure the light is working. Wipe the stove clean of any dirt, oil, and grimes. You can use a commercial cleaner or baking soda and lemon.
- Bins — empty the bins if possible before the time of inspection, or at least make sure that they are not overflowing.
Survive Your Rental Inspection
As long as you are doing your part according to what you have agreed on with the lease, you should be fine. That usually means you:
- Keep the property clean, tidy and in the same condition as when you moved in;
- Have no extra people or pets residing in the property that are not included in the lease agreement;
- Are not subletting the property without your landlord’s consent;
- Keep all appliances, furniture, and other objects included in the lease well-kept;
- Advise your landlord or agent/property manager of any problems that require repair or maintenance right away.
Generally, tenancy arrangements allow for normal wear and tear, such as minor cracks or scratches. This is a natural part of property usage and ageing.
When it is time to move out, exit inspection will determine whether or not the bond will be paid back to you in full or not. If it is in the same standard or condition as it was when you moved in then you will most likely receive the bond in full.
Partner with us for all your rental inspection needs.
Whether you are a landlord, a property manager, or a tenant, a rental inspection can help you fix possible defects right away and avoid possible lawsuits that can come with structurally defective rental property. Partner with an experienced building inspector, especially if you have multiple rental properties.
Our team has 17 years of experience and a strong track record in providing high-quality service to clients in the greater Sydney area. With us, you are assured of nothing less than a professional inspection service that is truly first-class. Contact us today and let us discuss how we can help.