14 April, 2015 / Category: Blog
If you’re a landlord, routine inspections are essential to ensuring that your property is being maintained to a satisfactory standard. They’re also a great way of picking up on any routine maintenance that may be required. For the tenant however, rental inspections can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Many renters, first time or otherwise, are unaware of what to expect, or of what’s expected of them.
And so, since most Australians will rent a home or an apartment at some point in their lifetime, Infolio has prepared a few tips on how to survive any future rental inspections.
Keep up appearances
The easiest way to get a head start on preparations is to keep up appearances, cleaning your home incrementally, and not in a mad, last minute rush. By law, landlords and agents are required to provide a minimum of 24 hours notice before an inspection, although most will give you at least one week to prepare. Once you have been provided with the date of your upcoming inspection, start taking baby steps in preparation. Maybe tackle the kitchen one day after work, and handle the bathroom the next.
Clean up after yourself
As routine inspections are predominantly visual in nature, cleanliness is one of the most important factors in making sure that you’re prepared. To make sure that you’re not doing too much scrubbing the night before your inspection is due; try to maintain a clean and hygienic lifestyle. Not only is it respectful, it’s the best way to ensure that you will get your full bond back.
You spilt it; you mop it
During the inspection, the condition of carpets, tiles and walls will most likely be examined closely. Stains, if not dealt with in a timely fashion, have a tendency of becoming permanent features of your landlord’s rental home. If you wait too long to clean that red wine spillage on the lounge room carpet, you may have to flip the bill for fresh flooring to be laid.
Don’t crack up
Keep an eye on any tiling in the home, especially in damp environments like the bathroom, or around the kitchen sink. If you notice any cracks or eroded grout that may result in leaking behind tiles, either attempt to fix it yourself, or bring it up with your agent. Do not attempt to hide the damage with appliances or knickknacks, your landlord will look behind them, and then you’ll look much worse.
Mould is (unfortunately) very common in apartment buildings, especially for residences that are on the ground floor. Tenants may encounter mould in wet areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries; other areas of the property that aren’t well insulated may also be susceptible. The tenant and their landlord both have responsibility when it comes to preventing and dealing with mould.
Tenants should take steps to prevent mould from occurring, such as using extractor fans in the bathroom when showering. However, the landlord also has an obligation to ensure that the property is not in a state that would allow mould to grow, that the causes of any mould are dealt with quickly, and that any damage caused by mould is repaired as soon as possible.
Open a window
During the day, try to keep as much fresh air in the property as possible. Proper ventilation will protect the rental home from many different kinds of damage. Fresh air keeps away bad odours, irritating pollutants, and potentially harmful gases like carbon monoxide. Good ventilation will also discourage the formation of mould and mildew.
Tend to your garden
Gardens and landscaping are a huge investment of time and money for landlords. This is why agents can often be strict about the maintenance of the outside areas of their properties.
As a general rule of (green) thumb, landlords will strongly favour tenants who do a good job of maintaining the exterior of the home, as well as the interior. As a tenant, make sure you keep everything watered, fertilized, and pruned on a regular basis. This way, when it comes time for your inspection, the garden will look as beautiful as when you first moved in. You can scrub a floor the night before an inspection, but you can’t revive a deceased bed of flowers.
Get your leaves out of the gutter
It might not seem like a big deal, but failing to keep your gutters clean could cause real damage to your rental home. As leaves and debris build up in your guttering system, serious blockages can occur. This could cause serious rot, a problem that will be the tenant’s responsibility to fix. Come inspection time, most landlords will poke their heads above the eaves; make sure the gutters are ready.
Be watchful of windows
While many of us are used to looking out our windows to check if the mail has arrived, few of us are mindful of window rot. Unlike obvious water leaks or broken windows, rotting wood is one home maintenance problem that can go unnoticed, unless you’re really looking. But while it might seem harmless, rot can spread much further than you think, compromising the structure of your home. Come inspection time, don’t just Windex your glass panes; have a proper look at your window’s wooden frame.
Occupational (home) and safety
It might seem obvious, but it’s important to check that all of your internal smoke detectors are switched on and operative. While this should be done on a more routine basis, an impending viewing by your landlord is a good reason to grab a ladder, and check that your smoke alarms are working the way they should.
Take a deep breath
Routine rental inspections, as worrisome as they seem, shouldn’t stress you out. They are not designed so that a real estate agent or a landlord can find an excuse to kick you out. Most inspections are brief and fuss-free, consisting of the agent doing a quick walk through of the home to check for any maintenance problems that may need to be fixed. So, now that you know what to expect, you can take a deep breath and relax.