What to expect from your routine inspection
Periodic routine inspections are part and parcel of all residential tenancies. The more educated tenants are of what is involved and how inspections are conducted the smoother the process can be for everyone.
Until you make the leap and purchase your own property, renting is the obvious alternative. Periodic routine inspections are part and parcel of all residential tenancies. The more educated tenants are of what is involved and how inspections are conducted the smoother the process can be for everyone.
Inspections are conducted primarily to protect an owner’s or landlord’s investment asset. They serve as periodic assessments of the property’s condition. ‘We need to see if the tenants are fulfilling their obligations as well as keep an eye on general maintenance and upkeep,’ says Marshall White Property Manager Renee Hewstone. Marshall White property managers conduct scheduled inspections on behalf of owners or landlords and are well versed in the issues that can crop up. The first inspection is carried out following the first three months of tenancy and thereafter every six months. The law requires 24 hours’ notice, however, we usually provide up to seven days so that tenants have adequate time to arrange to be there if they wish. This is followed by an SMS reminder the day prior to give tenants ample warning.
There are issues that can arise during inspections and your landlord or agent may request that any defects incurred during tenancy be rectified. In extreme cases tenants may be asked to leave if they fail to meet the expected standards of upkeep. ‘If the property is in bad repair a tenant can be given another week to bring it up to scratch as advised, failing which the landlord would be informed and a notice to vacate issued,’ says Renee. Jeopardising your tenancy this way also means that you greatly weaken future prospects as a renter.
While it is expected that the property is kept reasonably clean it’s useful to know what exactly agents or landlords look for during routine inspections. ‘Ask yourself how you would want your property to be maintained. Making a good impression on your landlord is not difficult. Be sure to clean and tidy the house for the inspection. It’s nice to enter a property where the bed is made, clothes are off the floor and towels are hung,’ explains Renee.
There are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure no misunderstandings or issues arise during the inspection. Firstly, familiarise yourself on the restrictions in place related to the use of the property. When in doubt it never hurts to clarify with your agent on what you can and cannot do.
The Consumer Affairs Victoria renting guide is the recommended resource for relevant information for tenants. Generally keeping the premises clean and tidy during your tenancy can eliminate stress or panic prior to your scheduled inspection. Informing the agent of any repairs or maintenance issues as soon as they crop up is strongly recommended. Often a point of contention between renters and landlords is the maintenance of outdoor areas. ‘Gardening is a common grey area. Unless gardening is included in the lease, tenants are responsible for carrying out low level maintenance such as mowing and edging lawns, weeding and of course watering,’ says Renee noting that the more demanding measures of upkeep such as pruning tall trees and vines are in the hands of the landlord.
Inspections can also facilitate face to face introductions. If landlords choose to attend, tenants are afforded the opportunity to meet them in person. We strongly suggest tenants and landlords do not get involved in direct conversations concerning maintenance and other related issues at these inspections. It is always best to leave such matters to your agent to address and negotiate. Moreover, tenants need not be present during the inspection and landlords and agents are within their rights to access the property at the time agreed upon. Routine inspections are also a good opportunity for agents to see any maintenance concerns in person, which can assist in resolving matters more efficiently.