What is the dollar value of your investment property? Would you put that money in the hands of a bank and never check the interest? Would you put it in the hands of a stock broker or financial planner and never check the value? Then why put an asset as valuable as a rental property of tenants and never check its condition?
Blogger: Diane Bukowski, Managing Director, Eezirent Pty Ltd
Many landlords are wary of their bank, their stock broker, their financial planner; but seem to be happy to allow tenants virtually unmonitored reign over a very valuable asset.
One way to keep an eye on your investment is to do an occasional ‘drive by’. It’s not fool proof, but it will give you some idea. Be mindful of the issue of trespass. The general rule for property management is not to pass the letterbox without a valid Entry Notice or the specific permission of the tenant.
Drive by checks are useful, but there no substitute for thorough and regular inspections of your investment.
The purpose of a routine inspection is not to spy on tenants, it is to ensure your investment is being looked after. Very few tenants actually cause malicious damage to a property. But what can happen is that a cleaning issue goes unchecked or an item requiring repair is not reported. In both cases, early intervention as a result of a routine inspection will save you time and money in the long run. Here are the Eezirent essentials for routine inspections:
1. Notify the tenant in writing – not just giving notice of the inspection, but let them know your expectations. Request that the property is presented clean, the grounds are maintained, all rooms and areas are unlocked and accessible and any pets are secured.
2. Record the findings – the most efficient method is to use a checklist which is organised by rooms/sections of the property. A thorough inspection will include photographs of all rooms. You should at least take photographs of anything that is damaged, in need of repair or of concern.
3. Follow up - notify the tenant of items that need to be fixed. Do this in writing and set a deadline for when they must be remedied. It is best practice to issue this in the form of a Breach Notice. Conversely, let the tenant know if there were no problems. They will appreciate the feedback.
There are some practical matters you must take into account with routine inspections. You can’t do an inspection whenever you like. The tenant is entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ as such, there are rules in place limiting the frequency of routine inspections.
Allowable frequency for routine inspections:
ACT - No more than twice in 12 months + only once during first and last month of lease
NSW - No more than once every 3 months
NT - No more than once every 3 months
QLD - No more than once every 3 months
SA - No more than once every 4 weeks
TAS - No more than once every 3 months
VIC - No more than once every 6 months and no sooner than the first 3 months of the lease
WA - No more than once every month
About Diane Bukowski
From school teacher to website entrepreneur, Diane Bukowski is the managing director of Eezirent – an online service delivering professional tools to self-managing landlords.
After many years running an award winning real estate office, Diane took up the challenge offered by her business partner to set up a service that would level the playing field for self-managing landlords. The result is Eezirent which allows these investors to advertise their property on www.realestate.com.au, verify their applicants with the National Tenancy Database, and access the documentation and knowledge needed to efficiently manage a lease.
Diane’s blogs aim to provide practical advice to the self-managing landlord.