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How to Manage Routine Property Inspections

 

It is important to conduct regular rental 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. We have created a rental inspection checklist and guide for landlord property inspections. 

 

What is a routine inspection?

A routine inspection (or a landlord property inspection) is conducted throughout lease period to ensure there is no damage or other issues in the rental 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. These inspections are also about rental safety, and should be conducted with respect to tenants rights. 

 

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 routine inspections: 4 times a year
  • Victoria routine inspections: every 6 months (but not within the first 3 months)
  • Queensland routine inspections: every 3 months
  • SA routine inspections: every 4 weeks
  • WA routine inspections: 4 times per year
  • Tasmania routine inspections: every 3 months (as well as an initial inspection during the first month)
  • ACT routine inspections: 2 times a year (as well as an initial inspection during the first month)
  • NT routine inspections: 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 real estate inspection:

  • How much notice for rental inspection NSW: 7 days
  • How much notice for rental inspection Victoria: 7 days
  • How much notice for rental inspection Queensland: 7 days
  • How much notice for rental inspection SA: 7-14 days
  • How much notice for rental inspection WA: 7-14 days
  • How much notice for rental inspection Tasmania: 24 hours
  • How much notice for rental inspection ACT: 7 days
  • How much notice for rental inspection NT: 7 days

Make sure you follow the rules relevant to your state by issuing a property inspection notice to your tenant. 

What should I look out for during the inspection?

How clean does a rental property need to be for an inspection? 

Inside

  • 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?

Outside

  • 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.

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