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Rental inspection checklist

By George Hadgelias

Inspections are a necessary evil for renters.

Rarely convenient and always coming around quicker than you think, they’re nonetheless the only way for renters to show their landlord that they’re looking after their very expensive asset.

But you don’t want to give the property manager any cause to inspect the property more often than they absolutely have to, so it’s important that the home is in tip-top shape on inspection day.

A simple rental inspection checklist is a good way to ensure you don’t miss anything when giving the property a once-over.

Peggy Willcox, from Penrith’s Mooney Real Estate, says there are a number of key areas you need to check off before the property manager arrives.

1. Tidy your property

It’s somewhat common sense, of course, but the property should be presented to the property manager almost as clean as it was on the day you moved in.

That means fixing any holes in walls, wiping dusty surfaces, vacuuming and mopping, as well as putting away dishes and any other items that might create an untidy appearance.

“General wear and tear is OK, but you need to present it in the same way that you’ve had it handed over to you. If I saw grubby fingerprints on the wall, for example, I’d expect those to be cleaned,” Willcox says, adding that nothing should impede the agent’s walk through the property.

“If I can walk from one end of the house to the other and open up every door and get into every room, I’m pretty happy with that,” she says.

2. Clean the bathroom

Bathrooms are an obvious area for scrupulous inspection attention, so it pays to put in a little extra effort to ensure yours is gleaming.

Willcox says tile grout needs to be scrubbed, while taps, drains and plugholes should also be shown some love.

“It’s just making sure there’s no soap scum build-up, and obviously any mould in the bathrooms needs to be removed regularly,” she says.

3. Attend to the garden

It’s not only the inside of the property that’s being inspected – the gardens will usually be checked, too.

Mowing the lawns is a gimme, as is weeding, and cutting back any unruly bushes.

Willcox says you want to avoid giving the impression that there will be a mountain of maintenance work to do if you suddenly decide to move out.

“Gardens are a big thing that we feel people neglect. We want to see that you’re not going to move out in a few months’ time and leave a ton of work to do outside.”

“If they are allowed pets, make sure there’s no dog poo in the backyard. If you walk out there and it stinks and you can’t get from one end of the garden to the next, that’s a bit of a warning sign to us that we need to watch the property closer.”

4. Check exhaust fans and air con

If an agent wants to see if you’re really looking after the property, they’ll check around your rangehood and air conditioning.

Willcox says it’s an area her agency always checks to ensure the property’s expensive appliances are being maintained correctly.

“They’re things that tenants often forget to check. You want to be cleaning those out quite regularly just to make sure they’re not getting damaged and are still working efficiently,” she says.

5. Eliminate bad smells

First impressions count, and if the property manager’s first impression upon stepping through the front door is that there’s a funky smell, you can expect plenty more scrutiny.

“Air the house out a couple of days beforehand if you usually have everything locked up,” Willcox advises.

6. Remove rubbish

Old furniture, broken fridges and other unwanted items that typically get stashed down the side of the house on the front verandah are a huge no-no and need to be moved, Willcox says.

“Remove any rubbish lying around. We don’t want to see the side of the house with branches littered around, or broken down appliances.”

“Call and get a council pick-up a month before your inspection. Just book a pick-up as soon as you get your notice.”

Willcox says that while landlords are allowed to request up to four inspections each year, a couple of smooth inspections will usually result in a much more lenient inspection schedule.

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