28 January, 2020 / Category: Rent
Here’s the truth: no one enjoys inspections – not the tenants, nor the property manager who has to conduct them. They’re a hassle for tenants but they are essential, if you’re a landlord, in ensuring that that the property is being maintained to a certain standard. After all, no one wants their most prized investment destroyed by callous renters! Renters, on the other hand, don’t see it that way. They often view inspections as a yearly last-minute hassle when someone legally rummages through their personal space. Fear not, inspections shouldn’t be a stress! They’ll be a whole lot easy if you follow our tips.
1. Make it routine
Most inspections are stressful for tenants because the job to clean the home top to bottom becomes a much bigger rush job because, well, you’ve been putting that important spring clean off. There’s that bulb that needs replacement, the skirting boards need a dusting, there’s cobwebs in all the high corner ceilings, and everything really, really needs a really good wipe. It’s exhausting! Making cleaning a regular routine – once a week, helps eliminate the last-minute stress of giving the house a really good lean that once a year.
Given that landlords and agents can give you only 24 hours prior notice, you really don’t want to be caught out especially if you’ve already made seriously fun plans! For extra prepared tenants, we suggest a deeper clean every quarter – really digging into those nooks and crannies you can easily overlook in your weekly clean. Trust me, your rental agent will notice the difference and be more likely to keep you on noting that you’re a tenant who genuinely cares about upholding the property’s maintenance.
2. Not so later alligator
Attend to any issues when they happen – not later. Living your life can be a messy business, and that’s understandable especially when modern lives are becoming busier and crazier than ever. But like leaving dishes in the sink to be washed another day – it’s better to give them a rinse and wash right after you cook, rather than a week later when the plates are piled high. If you drop that wine glass, scrub the carpet immediately because stains can set in easily. That bathroom tile is just a tad cracked? Well, if you keep walking on it without fixing it – those tiles can crack even more.
Issues can get worse when left untended, and this can fare terribly in your inspection – or if not fixed, can result in the tenancy being uninhabitable in the long run.
3. Get your fix
Most tenants don’t know that inspections can actually work for them too. They’re beneficial in highlight areas under the landlord and property manager’s remit to get fixed on their dime. Let’s be clear however, your dog tearing up the carpet or your mate Jonno denting the wall one night don’t fallen into their remit – that’s yours! What does? Well, if there’s a structural problem, an issue with ventilation, electrical faults, squeaky pipes or similar. Do your best by them, and make a list of these issues and notify the landlord and/or property manager well before the inspection so that they can check them out themselves. This goes even further to show them that you see yourself not only as a tenant, but a conscientious caretaker of their home.
4. It’s all in the details
Let’s dive a bit deeper into those issues you can ‘get your fix’ on. Bathrooms and kitchens are the ones you should always keep a good eye out since they are communal spaces that are most often used, and garner a great deal of damp as wet spaces. Around sinks especially grout can erode away and tiling can crack often enabling the growth of mould. Ew!
Be well aware of insulation and ventilation in these spaces too that can escalate its growth. Make sure shower and stovetop ventilators are working and ensure that other spaces, such as living rooms and bedrooms, get plenty of ventilation too throughout the year. Fresh air will help keep mildew and mould at bay as well as bad odours, irritating pollutants and harmful gases such as carbon monoxide from your stove or oven-top from affecting your overall health. Remember to report any damp issues resulting from leaky pipes or in older buildings immediately to your landlord and property manager. We’re all on the same page in wanting to keep the best house possible!
5. Guard your garden
It’s often easy in the rush to get a home ready for an inspection for tenants to forget the exterior of their domiciles. This includes your gardens, windows, gutters, courtyards and any outside structures like sheds, garage etc. Landlords and property managers are often strict, and may impose certain conditions on the maintenance of these areas.
Like your insides, you want to get in the habit of keeping your outsides clean too! If you don’t have a green thumb (like most of us), just aim to keep outside areas clean and tidy. De-weed the garden, sweep up your yard, wash your windows and check the wood around them for rot and get the leaves out of your gutter – especially as leaving them for extended periods of time can block water drainage and lead to further rot.
6. Final check
Tenants often forget these minor things such as doorbells, smoke detectors, porch lights, key locks, mailboxes etc. Make sure you check all of these, especially that your smoke detectors are operational and work! If any issues, heed Tip 3# and make sure you notify your landlord as soon as possible. These often fall within their remit to get fixed too.
7. Now… relax!
Maybe it’s time we change our mindset about inspections. They’re a great way for landlords and property managers to check in, not to kick you out because you left a mug in the sink. They often take 10 minutes and include a quick walk-through of the house. They’re also a way for tenants to get those pesky little property annoyances fixed, and to show off how great a tenant you are, so that landlords are more likely to feel reassured their beloved home is in the right hands for the long-term. For more on this topic, check out our related blogs on How To Retain Good Tenants and In Good Repair: No Ifs, Ands or Buts.