Moving in and out of properties can be a stressful time, even more so if disputes arise.
Reclaiming your bond when leaving a property seems to be a time when a lot of disputes arise. Arguing about who created the damage and when it happened is a problem for both the agent and the tenant. Here are 5 tips to help reduce the chance of tenancy disputes.
By Aden Tranter – Guard My Lease
1. Take lots of photos
The best thing you can do other than thoroughly ﬁlling out the entry report is take LOTS of photos. Taking photos of EVERYTHING you believe is damaged, worn or needs maintenance is paramount to not having disputes at the end of a lease.
Taking the time at the start can really save your bond/deposit and wasted time at the end of the lease. We recommend always taking photos and attaching them to the entry condition report before you hand it back to your property manager.
2. Ask for the photos the agent took
Asking the property manager for a copy of the photos in a digital format will allow you to not only have a copy of the photos which will help you when you move out, but also will cut down on the number of photos you need to take.
Sometimes, depending on the agency, they will not have photos or won’t oﬀer them in digital format. This step will not only tell you how much the agent cares about disputes ( by how many photos they take ) but it will also save you a lot of time in step 1.
3. Write the description of each photo on the Entry Condition Report
Sadly, just taking photos isn’t currently enough – The Entry Report requires tenants to write down issues they have. This can take some time – but ﬁlling these details out for each photo as documented damage on the Entry Report is fundamental to getting 100% of your bond back.
4. Report issues straight away
A big cause of disputes can be either wear and tear or maintenance issues. These issues should be reported when discovered in order to get them repaired or at least documented with the plan of action.
Being proactive and honest in this manner can save your bank later on when it comes to dispute issues. Having issues ﬁxed as soon as you ﬁnd them allows the workload to be cut right down when you move out. This is a really helpful tip that doesn’t require a lot of eﬀort to do.
5. Understand your responsibilities and the difference between wear and tear
Who deﬁnes “wear and tear”, the agents? the owners? the tenants? There is no formal deﬁnition of “wear and tear” and therefore it depends on each parties’ perspective. When moving into a place and documenting the damage, take note of the condition of the edges of walls, the ﬂy screens, and any wear on ﬂooring such as carpet.
Ask your property manager about these issues that you ﬁnd. For example: “The carpet is quite worn, are the owners looking to replace this? Do you want me to keep you up to date with how it wears over the next few months?”. These questions will help deﬁne how the agent sees “wear and tear” and allow you as a tenant to document it all correctly over time.
I hope these ﬁve tips have been helpful, a lot of it seems like wishful thinking. So to give some practical recommendations, there are ways to help cut down on this workload.
Using a smartphone allows you to quickly take a lot of photos that you can either send directly to the property manager or print out.
Aden Tranter was the co-founder of Guard My Lease in Queensland between 2016 and 2017. The company specialised in evidence collection and rental bond protection. Guard My Lease was built to help tenants and owners of rental properties across Australia. Aden holds a Bachelor of Information Technology from RMIT University. His skill set has been helpful in his more recent career, where he was a Director with Comit Pty Ltd in Townsville and now works as the CTO with OneOverNil.