The landlord or owner has phoned. There’s a routine inspection due. What do you do? Panic? There’s really no reason to get into a state. Baxton Property Management has conducted many routine inspections on behalf of the large number of rental property owners and investors it represents. So they would know if you had cause for alarm. Taking their advice might save you a few sleepless nights when inspection time comes around.
Don’t make it 15 minutes of hell
There’s no need to lock your doors, draw the curtains or unexpectedly take a trip out of town. You are not a naughty schoolkid that’s been called into the principal’s office. Neither is your landlord there to find a reason to kick you out along with your baggage (unless you deserve it!). Provided you have looked after your rental home, kept it clean, and not done any damage, the inspection should be over in 15 minutes, and it will be another few months before there will be another.
Routine inspections are exactly that – routine inspections. It’s the owner’s chance to check up how things are going with a very valuable asset that belongs to him. And, if you look at it from a positive perspective, it’s your chance to also find out if everything is okay with the place you are staying in. And to connect with your landlord or agent over things that might have been worrying you, but you haven’t been sure were serious enough to report. The landlord may even detect faults in the plumbing, wiring or the structure, for instance, which you had no idea existed, but will be happy to have fixed once you do.
How often are routine inspections carried out?
According the Residential Tenancy Act of 1997, Australian owners or their agents are able to conduct routine inspections four times a year, which makes it at three-monthly intervals. They have to warn you, though, before they come knocking at your door, and that warning has to be given to you, preferably 7 to 14 days ahead of time, and certainly no later than 24 hours beforehand.
It’s inevitable – So make the best of it
Ignoring that notice of intention, or failing to answer the owner’s calls, won’t stop the Inspection from happening. The owner or landlord is entitled to do it anyway, provided that notice has been given, and that the visit is made between 8am and 6pm.
And why would you want to avoid the inspection? Your landlord is not there to run fingers over the top of the door frames to check for specks of dust, or to comment on your taste in décor. Yes, the overall cleanliness of the house and garden is important. It shows whether or not you are meeting one of the requirements in terms of the lease, and regulations regarding tenancies. And that is to keep and leave it in a reasonable state of cleanliness and, of course, not to cause or allow damage to the property.
What you should do before the inspection
- Check that the house is reasonably clean and tidy. Dirty dishes can attract pests, and your landlord doesn’t like those any more than you do. Dirty ovens can shorten the life of the appliance, and the owner’s definitely not going to like that.
- If you have accidentally spilt wine on the carpet, scratched the paint, or haven’t got around to raking up the leaves or mowing the lawn in a while, now’s the time to do so.
- Take a look outside. Large overhanging branches in the garden may provide a hazard should they fall, so rather cut or trim them.
- You needn’t tidy your cupboards – landlords are not allowed to go through drawers and cupboards as they are there merely to check the condition of their property, not your belongings. They are allowed to take photographs for their files to illustrate the property’s condition, but they may not take any that can identify you in your place of residence.
Why should you go to all that trouble?
If you like the place you are living in, you will like it more when it’s clean and tidy. You will also be doing what’s required of you in terms of regulations and the tenancy agreement, and will be making it easier for the landlord to identify repairs that need to be done.
But most importantly, you will be showing that you are a good tenant, and one worthy of being given a lease renewal, if you want it. If you decide to leave, the major work will be done to ensure you are able to claim the full security bond back, without claims.
Baxton Property Management has looked after the interests of both property owners and the tenants who occupy their properties. They’ve seen them come and they have seen them go. In the process they have acquired a good deal of information that could be of use to either tenants or owners. Browse through Baxton’s blog.
Written and syndicated by
– Baxton Media.
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