10 Steps to Successful Property Management: Step 7 – Initial Inspection

By Jai Ledgerwood

Looks can be decieving. Who hasn’t heard the horror story about the property owner who took on a mild mannered preschool teacher as a tenant, only to discover months later their penchant for wild drunken parties – complete with cigarette stained carpets, broken windows and other horrors?

As we’ve mentioned in our previous posts, a well drafted contract will recover most of your losses – but what about the time it will take to get the property ready for another tenant and then actually find one?

Avoid falling into this predicament by implementing an initial inspection period, where just a few weeks after your tenants take ownership, you carry out an inspection to see if they’re a good fit for the property, are meeting its maintenance requirements and are meeting the lease terms and any other requirements mentioned in the lease signing interview.

Generating a paper trail documenting this will also protect you should the tenant injure themselves on something they allege is due to lack of maintenance on your part. Any ensuing legal liability claims will require up to date, detailed property condition reports.

Lest your tenant think this is all very unfair, let them know that it works in their benefit as well. A recent survey of tenants in Australia revealed that most people are afraid to report property problems to their landlords as they fear eviction, with the law still allowing for termination of a lease without cause.

By making inspections a part of their rental agreement from the get go, tenants will be able to rest assured that they won’t shoulder the blame for problems that suddenly develop that they didn’t cause. It also ensures that any problem that should arise is swiftly and efficiently taken care of.

In order to make these instances as painless and straight forward for both parties, make sure that both you and your tenant are on the same page regarding what’s covered by fair wear and tear, what the tenant is responsible for personally maintaining, as well as responsiblities regarding installed equipment such as air conditioning units.

It might seem like unnecessary work, but you’ll thank yourself in the future for thinking ahead – trust us!

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