If you rent a property in Australia, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll experience a routine inspection during your tenancy.
These inspections can cause stress because many tenants don’t know what to expect (or what’s expected of them!) Thankfully there are a few simple tips to reduce your stress levels and help you prepare for your next routine inspection.
What is a routine rental inspection and how often are they performed?
If your rental property is managed through a real estate agent, you shoudl expect that your property manager will carry out a regular inspection. This inspection is done as part of your agent’s responsibilities to the property owner for two main reasons:
- To ensure the rental property is being cared for; and
- That any repair/maintenance issues are reported/addressed.
In most tenancies, you should expect a routine inspection to take place a few times a year. Landlords and agents cannot turn up and ask to inspect your home, or tell you they’re coming around the next day. By law, tenants must be provided with adequate notice:
- In NSW: The notice required to inspect the property is at least seven days’ written notice each time, up to four times in a 12-month period.
- In VIC: Landlords/agents can make one general inspection in any six-month period, but not within the first three months of the original lease agreement. Exception: In a long-term lease using Form 2, a landlord may make one general inspection in any 12-month period.
- In QLD: Routine inspections cannot be carried out more than once every three months, unless the tenant agrees in writing. The tenant must be given a minimum of seven days’ notice for entry, using an Entry notice (form 9).
- In WA: The lessor (landlord or agent) has the right to carry out a routine inspection on the property no more than four times a year. Tenants in WA should receive between seven and 14 days’ notice.
- In SA: Lessors can inspect the property once every four weeks after giving seven to 14 days’ written notice. They must specify a two-hour entry timeframe.
- In TAS: Routine inspections cannot be carried out more than once every three months (unless the tenant agrees in writing), including once in the first month. The tenant must be given a minimum of 24 hours’ notice for entry.
- In NT: A landlord/agent can enter the property to conduct a regular inspection a maximum of once every 3 months. This period can be longer if the tenant and landlord agree to it in the lease agreement. The landlord must arrange an inspection time with the tenant at least seven days in advance.
- In ACT: The lessor can conduct a regular inpsection a maximum of twice in every 12-month period after the start of a tenancy. The landlord can also conduct additional inspections in the first and last month of a tenancy. Tenants in the ACT should receive seven days’ notice.
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In most cases, you and your landlord/agent should try to agree on a mutually convenient time and day for the inspection.
While you’re welcome to be present while a routine inspection is taking place, it’s not required.
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An inspection will typically include the following checks:
- To ensure the property is being maintained in a clean and tidy condition;
- That the grounds are being maintained in a clean and tidy condition (things like mowing, weed removal and lawn watering);
- Ensuring the property hasn’t been damaged in any way;
- That there are no more people living in the home than what you specified on the rental agreement;
- Making sure no pets are living at the property unless they’re allowed to; and
- That any maintenance issues identified can be looked at.
What is the purpose of a routine rental inspection?
Rental inspections are not a test to see how tidy your house is. In fact, they’re designed to identify any problems that could require maintenance or repair and to ensure the place is being looked after.
In most cases, the property manager will walk through the rental property and note down any problems to review when they return to their office. They will also note down any new damage they’ve seen at the property or things that could be in violation of your rental agreement (like hiding Fido when your agreement says ‘no pets’).
How do I best prepare for a routine inspection?
There are a few simple things you can do 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 come up during or after the inspection.
- If you have pets, keep them secured during the rental inspection.
- Note down 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. Consider looking at the light fittings for loose cables and make note if you spot anything. Give all light switches a once-over with a cloth to remove residue or leftover prints.|
|Walls||The condition of your walls is important. If you’re renting, small ‘wear and tear‘-style cracks shouldn’t worry you, but note them down so you’re not hit with any surprise costs. Look along the bottom edging of your wall for any rising dampness.|
|Floorboards||While they’re a nice alternative to carpet, floorboards can easily show signs of wear and can be expensive to fix. Checks for creaks by walking over your floor, but also have a 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. If you have a dripping tap, it could be as simple as replacing a washer. 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 that’ll be checked by your agent. Open your stove, run your finger over the range hood and give the stovetop a very thorough scrub. If there’s built-up grease around these areas, you’ll probably be told 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 to be improved on!) Good opportunity to give your loo a clean.|
|The cupboards||Food residue and grime can be caught between the hinges of your cupboards and in the joins of shelves in your bathroom and kitchen. Give them a thorough look-over.|
|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 go a long way to give a good impression during your routine inspection.|
Your property’s exterior
|Cobwebs||Cobwebs can be a nuisance, but you must clear them ahead of your inspection. Sweep around the exterior of your property and clear any cobwebs away.|
|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 as well. 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.