Are you renting your home? Rental inspections are part and parcel of most tenancies, but they’re often a cause of stress for renters who don’t know what to expect (or what’s expected of them).
Use this rental inspection checklist to stay on top of the basic expectations, and you’ll ace your next visit from the property manager/landlord.
So what is a routine inspection all about?
A routine inspection is a visit that may be carried out by your property manager/landlord to ensure your rental is being cared for and that any maintenance and repairs are being reported.
In Australia, these inspections are standard and, in most cases, will occur several times a year.
Property managers carry out these visits as part of their responsibility to the property owner for two main reasons:
- To ensure your rental property is being cared for; and
- To make sure any repair/maintenance issues are reported/addressed.
Importantly, your property manager/landlord can’t just turn up and inspect your home or tell you they’re coming around the next day. By law, they must provide you with adequate notice. Here’s how it works in each state & territory.
|State & Territory||Criteria||Regularity|
|NSW||According to Fairtrading NSW, the minimum notice required to inspect the property is at least 7 days’ written notice each time.||Up to 4 times in a 12-month period|
|VIC||Consumer Affairs Victoria says rental providers or their agents must provide you with 7 days’ notice minimum for a general (or routine) inspection.||Inspections can only be made after the first 3 months of the agreement, then done every 6 months at the most.|
|QLD||In QLD, you must be given a minimum of 7 days’ notice for entry, using an Entry notice. Access can be at a specific time or a 2-hour window.||Inspections cannot be carried out more than once every 3 months unless you agree in writing.|
|WA||Over in WA, you should be given between 7 and 14 days’ notice of an upcoming inspection. Notice should specify whether the entry will be before or after noon.||Your property manager/landlord has the right to conduct an inspection no more than 4 times a year.|
|SA||The SA Government says that your landlord must give you 7 to 14 days’ written notice for entry.||Your landlord can inspect the property no more than once every 4 weeks, for up to 2 hours.|
|TAS||Over in TAS, you must be given a minimum of 24 hours’ notice for entry.||Inspections can’t be carried out more than once every 3 months unless you agree in writing, including once in the first month.|
|NT||Your landlord must arrange an inspection time at least 7 days in advance if you rent in the NT.||Inspections can be a maximum of once every 3 months in the NT, or longer if you and your landlord agree to it in the lease.|
|ACT||As a tenant in the ACT, you should get 7 days’ notice of a routine inspection.||These should occur a maximum of twice every 12 months after the start of a tenancy. Your landlord can also conduct additional inspections in your tenancy’s first and last months.|
No matter which state/territory you live in, you and your property manager/landlord should agree on a mutually convenient time for the inspection.
In most cases, you’re welcome to be present when an inspection occurs, but it’s not required.
An inspection will typically include the following checks:
- Ensure the property is being maintained in a clean and tidy condition;
- Check the grounds are being kept in a clean and tidy condition (things like mowing, weed removal and lawn watering);
- Ensure the property hasn’t been damaged in any way;
- Confirm there are no more people living in the home than what you specified on the rental agreement;
- Make sure no pets are living at the property unless they’re allowed to; and
- Identify any maintenance issues
What is the purpose of a routine rental inspection?
Rental inspections are not a test to see how tidy your house is. They’re designed to identify any problems that require maintenance or repair and ensure the place is being looked after.
In most cases, the property manager will walk through the rental property and note any problems to review when they return to their office.
They will note down any new damage they’ve seen at the property or things that could violate your rental agreement (like hiding Fido when your agreement says ‘no pets’).
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How do I best prepare for a routine inspection?
You can do a few simple things to ensure your rental inspection runs smoothly.
- Notify your property manager if there has been any change to your mobile number, bank details or email address. This will keep the lines of communication open. It’ll also make it easier to notify you if any problems arise during or after the inspection.
- If you have pets, keep them secured during the rental inspection.
- Note any repair or maintenance problems you notice in the quarter leading up to the inspection and fill out the necessary maintenance request forms.
Prepare your home with this routine rental inspection checklist
Learning to go over your property with a critical eye will help you get the most out of your next property inspection. To help you succeed at your next rental inspection, Rent.com.au has developed a handy checklist for your use.
Your living room
|Lights||Do all your lights work? Switch them on and off to double-check. Give all light switches a once-over with a cloth to remove residue or leftover prints. Consider looking at the light fittings for loose cables and make a note if you spot anything.|
|Walls||The condition of your walls is important. Look along the bottom edging of your wall for any rising dampness. If you’re renting, minor ‘wear and tear‘-style cracks shouldn’t worry you, but note them down, so you’re not hit with any surprises.|
|Floorboards||While they’re a nice alternative to carpet, floorboards can quickly show signs of wear and can be expensive to fix. Checks for creaks by walking over your floor, but also look to see if your floorboards have started to come up at the edges.|
Your kitchen and bathroom
|Sinks and plumbing||Checked your taps recently? It might seem harmless, but a dripping tap can add extra (unwanted) costs to your utility bills. It could be as simple as replacing a washer if you have a dripping tap. When you turn the taps on, listen for any strange sounds. It wouldn’t hurt to check under your sink for possible leaks.|
|Kitchen appliances and fittings||No one likes to clean their oven, but it’s a key spot your agent will check. Open your stove, run your finger over the range hood and give the stovetop an extensive scrub.|
If there’s built-up grease around these areas, your property manager will probably tell you about it in your inspection report. If your microwave and fridge were included in your property, open them and check they’re clean.
|Tiles and surfaces||It’s all about the shine when it comes to your next inspection. Clean away any residual debris and scrub hard. The same goes for your sink, mirror, shower and bathtub too.|
|The toilet||Do an extra check around the toilet and bin areas. It’ll give you an idea of how much love you’re giving that area (and what needs improvement!) Good opportunity to give your loo a clean.|
|The cupboards||The hinges of your cupboards and joins of your shelves in your kitchen and bathroom can catch food residue and grime.|
|Walls and floorboards||Just as you did in the living room, look at the state of your walls and floorboards. This will give you a good indication of how much love your bedroom needs. Consider giving them a little extra TLC where you can.|
|Windows and doors||Open your windows and doors and let the air in. Check the handles and locks on everything where appropriate. Sliding doors and windows can easily fall into disrepair.|
|General clean-up||Your landlord or property manager isn’t likely to poke around in your bedroom too much, but giving it a good once-over, throwing away any rubbish and wiping down exposed surfaces will give a good impression during your routine inspection.|
Your property’s exterior
|Cobwebs||Cobwebs can be a nuisance, but you must clear them before the inspection. Sweep around the exterior of your property and remove any cobwebs.|
|Entrance doors||Are the locks and handles functioning properly? How’s the fly screen looking? Dust or wipe down the doors if they need it.|
|Garage||If your property comes with a garage, check the doors. Do they work properly? Ensure the whole space is kept relatively clean and well-organised.|
|Gates and garden||Now’s the time to look for any non-human residents your home might be housing. If your property has gates or a garden, look over them. Make sure your lawn is watered and that any weeds are removed.|
As a tenant, now is your chance to speak up. Raise any issues with the property with your landlord or property manager to avoid problems in the future.
Lauren Vardy is the Content Manager at Rent.com.au, Australia's largest company dedicated to renters (ASX:RNT). Lauren has worked with Rent.com.au since 2015 and manages the Rent.com.au Blog. Formerly a journalist with Fairfax Media and Rural Press, Lauren has worked with multiple media groups in Australia and internationally on a freelance basis through publications including the Esperance Express, Southeast Asia Globe, Colosoul Magazine, The Sunday Times, and more.