How to Manage Routine Property Inspections
It is important to conduct regular inspections of your rental property during the term of a tenancy. Identifying small issues early on can save major headaches later on. It can also be a good opportunity for your tenant to raise any concerns they might have or to show you things that need to be fixed.
- What is a routine inspection?
- How often should I conduct an inspection?
- How much notice do I need to give the tenant?
- What should I look out for during the inspection?
- How should I record the results of the inspection?
- What should I do afterwards?
What is a routine inspection?
A routine inspection is conducted throughout lease period to ensure there is no damage or other issues in the property. The person conducting the property should respect that someone lives in the property and it is not a judgement on how tidy surfaces are, but rather to ensure the property is kept in a clean state and there is no damage.
How often should I conduct an inspection?
We would recommend performing a routine inspection of your property at least twice a year to ensure the property is well maintained by the tenant.
Each state has its own regulations on how often landlords are allowed to conduct routine inspections:
- NSW: 4 times a year
- Victoria: every 6 months (but not within the first 3 months)
- Queensland: every 3 months
- SA: every 4 weeks
- WA: 4 times per year
- Tasmania: every 3 months (as well as an initial inspection during the first month)
- ACT: 2 times a year (as well as an initial inspection during the first month)
- NT: every 3 months
How much notice do I need to give the tenant?
Each state has its own regulations around the minimum notice period to give a tenant prior to a routine inspection:
- NSW: 7 days
- Victoria: 7 days
- Queensland: 7 days
- SA: 7-14 days
- WA: 7-14 days
- Tasmania: 24 hours
- ACT: 7 days
- NT: 7 days
What should I look out for during the inspection?
- Is the property is tidy and well presented?
- Are all the smoke alarms working? (might be a good idea to bring batteries just in case)
- Are all the lights and light switches working?
- What is the condition of the kitchen appliances and fittings? e.g. oven, stove top, exhaust fan, etc
- Are any of the sinks or taps leaking?
- Has there been any damage to the flooring? Look for stains on the carpet, broken or cracked tiles and scratches on floorboards
- Are any sliding doors and windows in good condition? Check the handles and locks
- Are there any large marks or holes in the walls?
- Are the locks and handles on external doors in good working order?
- Is the garage well organised and is the lock functioning?
- Is the garden/lawn well maintained?
- Are there any large overhanging branches or trees that need to be cut back?
- Has there been any damage to the gates and fences?
- Check for excessive cobwebs under the eaves of the roof
How should I record the results of the inspection?
It is a good idea to write a brief report summarising the condition of the property and any areas of concern that you might have identified.
This can be in the form of a very simple table, listing the rooms of the house and outdoor areas in one column and a few bullet points or a ‘good’/’bad’ label in a second column.
If there is anything that needs to be repaired, it is a good idea to take a photo of it during the inspection to include in your report.
Each state typically provides a template for a condition report upon entry or exit from the property, and you can use this to record your results. Click here to select the template relevant to your state.
What should I do afterwards?
If you are satisfied with the condition of the property, send your tenants a short thank you email or text and file your report away for safe keeping.
If repairs need to be ordered, engage the right professionals to have damage taken care of as soon as possible.
If the tenants are not keeping the property to your standard, you can raise it with them at the inspection or follow up with written instructions post-inspection. This might outline specific steps you wish them to follow in maintaining the property. If, at your next inspection, you are still not satisfied with the condition then you may need to look into whether the tenant is in breach of their duties under the lease agreement. You will need to look at the terms of the lease and consult the relevant state government authority.