If you are renting or looking to rent, it is inevitable that at some point - you will experience an inspection; whether it be ingoing, outgoing or routine. Inspections can cause unnecessary stress if tenants don’t know what to expect. This is why we have created a number of tips for preparing for these inspections and ensuring the process is as easy as possible!
Inspections are beneficial for all parties:
- Inspections provide the opportunity to demonstrate occupancy is as per the lease in relation to occupants, pets, cars, cleanliness
- Give the opportunity to ensure the property is well maintained
- Discuss minor improvements eg. painting, picture hooks
- Reduce chance of disputes or bond claims on vacate
- Learn more about the owner and share more about intentions to renew as a renter
Routine Property Inspections:
What is a routine inspection?
Routine inspections may be carried out by your property manager to ensure that the property is being cared for; and that any repair or maintenance issues are being reported and addressed. These are common and in most cases, may occur a few times a year. These inspections may include checks of smoke detectors to ensure compliance, and to; repair any faults.
It is important to note that as a part of your leasing agreement, strata managers may be entitled to undertake strata inspections to review the condition of common property if you are in a building (i.e. fire alarms, or balcony balustrades).
How often do they occur?
Typically, routine inspections occur once around the 3 or 6 month mark into a new lease, then annually thereafter.
Can an agent turn up and ask to inspect the property?
Landlords and agents are not legally allowed to turn up without notice and ask to inspect the rental property. Tenants must be provided with adequate notice for an inspection, and these laws differ by state:
- NSW: Inspection notice required is at least seven (7) days written notice each time, up to four (4) times in a 12-month period.
- VIC: One general inspection in any six (6) month period, but not within the first three (3) months of the original lease agreement. Exception: In a long-term lease using Form 2, a landlord may make one general inspection in any 12-month period.
- QLD: Routine inspections cannot occur more than once (1) every three (3) months, unless the tenant agrees in writing. Inspection notice required is at least seven (7) days written notice, using an Entry Notice (form 9).
- SA: A landlord or agent may inspect the property once every four (4) weeks after providing 7 to 14 days’ written notice with a specified two-hour entry time frame.
- WA: A landlord or agent has the right to carry out a routine inspection no more than four (4) times a year. Tenants should receive between seven (7) and fourteen (14) days notice.
- ACT: A landlord/agent may conduct a regular inspection a maximum of twice (2) in the 12-month period after the start of a tenancy. Additional inspections may also be conducted in the first and last month of a tenancy. Notice must be received by the tenant at least seven days’ in advance.
- NT: A routine inspection can occur a maximum of once every three (3) months. This period may be longer if the tenant/landlord agrees to it in the lease agreement. Inspection notice required is at least seven (7) days in advance.
- TAS: Routine inspections cannot be carried out more than once (1) every three (3) months, unless the tenant agrees in writing - including once (1) in the first month. Inspection notice required is at least 24 hours in advance.
In most cases, a landlord and tenant should aim to agree on a mutually convenient time for the inspection.
How to prepare for a routine inspection:
- Notify your property manager if any of your personal details have changed to keep the lines of communication open and (i,e, mobile number, email address)
- Note down any repair or maintenance problems you require, and fill out any necessary maintenance request forms
- Point out ordinary wear and tear, and don’t hide damage
- If you have pets, ensure they are secured during the routine inspection
- Take photos and save or email to property manager/owner
- Work your way through Snug’s inspection checklist!
Property Inspection Checklist:
Inspections don’t have to be stressful if you take care of your rental property. They provide the perfect opportunity for a spring clean as well!
- Lights - Check that all the property lights are working properly. Flick them all on and off to double check! Request replacement in hard to reach places eg. double height stairwell.
- Walls - Note down any wear and tear to your walls, and alert your agent to them so there are no surprises at the end of your lease.
- Surfaces - Walk over floorboards to listen for creeks, and check if the boards have begun to come up at the edges. Scrub any tiles and wipe away debris (do the same for your mirrors).
- Taps, showers and sinks - Note down any leaking taps to avoid unnecessarily high utility bills and ensure water flow is compliant to avoid wastage.
- Kitchen appliances/fittings - Whilst cleaning your oven isn’t the most glamorous of jobs - it is likely to be checked during an inspection so rub off any grease and ensure the appliances are in a good condition. Ensure to clean any other appliances included in your property; such as a fridge or microwave and especially the oven.
- Toilet - Ensure the toilet and bathroom is clean, and it’s a perfect opportunity to clean your loo too! Full/half flush buttons should be working. Key issue is mould in the shower or bathroom ceiling due to ventilation or irregular cleaning.
- Windows and doors - open windows to let some air in, and check the status of hinges and locks.
- Exterior - Remove cobwebs, and ensure that if you have a garden - it is in a good condition (lawn mowed and weeds removed).
- General - Work your way through your entire property - check every room and ensure that the property is in a good condition! Take photos of various property areas for future reference.
Ingoing Property Inspections:
How do I prepare for an ingoing property inspection?
There are a number of things to consider when looking to rent a new home. Check out our full article on preparing for an ingoing inspection here: https://snug.com/blog/preparing-for-a-viewing/
Outgoing Property Inspections:
At the end of your lease, the property manager/landlord will conduct a property inspection to ensure that the property has been left clean and in good condition. All details of the inspection will be recorded in a condition report to ensure that if any issues arise about damage or disrepair to the premises, the report can be used as evidence to determine who is liable. This is also important for determining how the rental bond should be paid out, or whether compensation should be paid to the landlord.
Whilst you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a move-out inspection, if you have maintained the home and its appliances in a reasonable condition, it should be fine. You can begin by doing a personal inspection of the home before everything is moved out, and begin to take care of any repairs if you have time. Once you have moved out all of your belongings, you can take care of any additional issues that require fixing or cleaning.
If anything is broken or damaged due to wear and tear, this will generally be fixed by the property manager or landlord. However, it is the responsibility of the tenant to repair anything that was broken accidentally or due to carelessness.
To prepare for an outgoing property inspection, work your way through Snug’s property inspection checklist outlined above!