You should be inspecting your property twice a year.
During these inspections, you are looking for repair and maintenance issues and ensuring the tenant is looking after the property.
An accumulation of dirt, together with a cluttered and untidy lifestyle, will accelerate wear and tear. This means appliances may break down more often and will need replacing sooner. This also applies to carpets and painting – resulting in higher costs.
With a new tenant, schedule the first appointment by the end of the third month. This will give the tenant a little time to settle in and you can see how they keep house.
Give the relevant notice, which in NSW is 14 days in writing, and arrange a mutually acceptable time. Your relationship with the tenant is important, so try hard to fit in with his routine; most tenants aren’t too fussed about allowing you access and in some cases they may not wish to attend.
Keep this inspection informal and quick. If you have chosen your tenant well, the property should look great, but if you see that the property is being poorly looked after, you are well within your rights to request the property be brought up to standard. It is a condition of the lease to keep the property reasonably clean, meaning that the tenant should not be causing damage or excessive wear and tear. You should also expect it to be tidy enough that all areas are accessible for regular cleaning. Give the tenant seven days to clean the property to a reasonable standard and arrange to return for another inspection.
If the property is still not appropriately clean, discuss the situation with the tenant. At this stage, take photos as a record, as you may need them later. Then, if all else fails, you can treat this situation as a breach of the agreement and give the tenant a termination notice.
If the property is clean and you’re happy with the presentation, diarise another inspection as permissible in your state. The second inspection should take place six months later or about three months before the tenancy agreement expires. This time the inspection should be more thorough – again looking at the presentation of the property and at any maintenance and repairs that may be needed.
If the lease is approaching or past the end of the fixed term, you should also use this time to consider any rental increases.
When sending out the “Notice of Inspection” attach a simple form that the tenant can fill in recording matters requiring attention or repair. Usually, the tenant is aware of most of the issues with the property and it is a great help to note them down.
Tenants will undoubtedly at some stage ask for alterations to be made to your property, for more information on how to deal with these requests see our previous blog “Has Your Tenant Asked to Make Changes to Your Property”.
This is also a good time to update the tenant’s contact details.
Once at the property, start inside and work your way through every room with the following checklist to guide you:
- Does the woodwork need repainting or varnishing?
- Is general painting required?
- Presence of mould, often found in bathrooms and laundries but can be particularly dangerous if found in bedrooms.
- Loose electrical fixtures such as power points, light switches, light fittings.
- Check for worn carpet areas and any stains
- Check locks with your set of keys
- Are kitchen cupboards still aligning and closing correctly?
- Check bench tops
- Check appliances – cook top, oven and exhaust fan etc
- Smoke alarms should be in working order, there should be one on each level of the home.
- Check outside – look at gutters and downpipes
- Check the gardens and pool
- Check overhanging branches- Check for any pruning or cut backs that are due and in the case of council approval make a note to lodge an application.
- Pool fences and gates in compliance, check the perimeter to ensure there are no unsteady railings or backyard items against the fence.
- Lawns should be cut regularly, and gardens maintained neatly in accordance with the lease
How involved are you in the management of your property? See our blog “Managing Your Investment Property.”
George Astudillo is the founder of Property Quarters, an agency that values communication and great relationships with its landlords.
George now has more than 30 years in real estate, including 15 years as the owner of a national real estate franchise. He’s also an accredited auctioneer and is the author of “The Landlord Mindset”, a book with his best tips to help landlords look after their investments. His book has been quoted in the SMH, The Huffington Post and The Age.
As the founder of Property Quarters, George takes great care in looking after his landlord’s investments. Having seen it all and worked with may landlords and tenants, he’s a strong mediator and negotiator and knows how to navigate through property legislation.
George is trusted by his landlords to advise on the financial management of their investments. He’s put in place proven processes to ensure each property he looks after is managed effectively to retain its value, quality tenants and rental income.
If you’re looking for a property manager who thinks like a landlord and whose business is built on tested processes, contact us by clicking HERE.
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