If you’re a renter in Australia, you’ll definitely have a routine rental inspection at least once. They’re a standard practice and a logical one—your landlord needs to know you’re not totally wrecking the place.
But many renters get a little nervous before it happens. So to quell any concerns, we’re putting together a checklist of things to go over before the inspection. Technically, these inspections are scheduled for a specific date so start by making sure you settle these tasks ahead of time!
But before we kick off the checklist, here’s a little background on routine inspections.
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What are routine rental inspections?
Like the name suggests, it’s an inspection of your rental unit by your landlord. If your rental property is being taken care of by a property management company, then you can expect a property manager to do the inspection.
They’ll come to your home and walk through the rooms and living areas to make sure all the hard fittings are in good condition.
How often do routine inspections happen?
The inspections will occur about once every few months, but this depends on your landlord or property manager as well as your state. Generally, they will—or should—provide you with a few days’ notice. When the request for the inspection comes through, they suggest a date and time. You don’t have to be at home for the inspection so they can enter the premises with their copy of your house key.
Routine rental inspection laws by state
In NSW, a rental inspection can happen a maximum of four times a year. And your landlord or agent must give at least seven days written notice.
For the state of Victoria, only 24 hours’ written notice is required. And the inspection can happen at anytime between 8am and 6pm throughout the week, except on public holidays.
QLD is a little different as well, limiting inspections to a maximum of one time every three months. They have to give you at least seven days’ notice.
In WA, you should get between seven and fourteen days’ notice. With a maximum of four rental inspections a year.
Then over in SA, they can inspect as often as once a month. But they need to let you know one to two weeks ahead of time, by written notice.
In Tasmania, the inspection can happen once every three months. Only 24 hours’ notice is required.
For NT, your landlord or agent can come by a maximum of one time every three months, unless otherwise agreed upon. Seven days’ notice is required too.
ACT is a little different, where inspections are at a maximum of twice a year, and additionally more in the first and last month of tenancy.
We do recommend regularly looking up laws in your state to stay updated.
What are they looking at during the inspection?
As rental inspections are conducted to make sure you’re maintaining the property properly, your landlord/agent will be looking out for a few key things. The property might also require some extra attention or repair in some areas.
If you’re worried about clothes flung onto your dining chair or unwashed dishes, you don’t have to. They’re not after your tidy habits.
Here’s what they’ll be inspecting:
- Your property overall and if you’re maintaining it well and that there are no damages.
- The backyard/garden. If it’s been maintained, with grass mowed and watered.
- That you aren’t hiding extra room mates, as per the lease agreement.
- That you’re not hiding any pets, unless your agreement allows for it.
- Any issues you might have brought up with them about the property and if they’ve been handled accordingly.
While walking through your home, they’ll make note of any potential maintenance problems in a routine inspection report, and assess them after leaving. Generally, they’ll respect your privacy and wish to stay only as long as necessary to inspect.
So how do I prepare my home for the rental inspection?
Now that we’ve gone through what a routine inspection is, here’s how you can ready yourself and your home for it.
Before we run through the checklist, there are a few other boxes to tick. If you’ve changed any personal details, like your phone number or bank details, inform your manager accordingly. If you have any problems with the property that need addressing, now is the time to inform your landlord and fulfil any necessary administrative duties. And lastly, if you’re lucky enough to have a pet, make sure they’re secured and won’t get in the way.
So let’s go about every area of your home and what needs to be looked at.
- Flooring – have any of the boards creeped up the edges? Are they creaking? These won’t always be safety issues but there’s potential for it. If you have rugs or carpets, look out for stains and try and remove them.
- Walls – are there cracks or visible signs of wear and tear? Are the bottom edges showing signs of dampness?
- Lights – check if all the light switches are working. While you’re at it, take a cloth or wipe and do a cleaning to get rid of any residual hand prints.
Kitchen & bathroom
- Plumbing and sinks – are all the taps in good condition or showing leaks? Does a washer need replacing? Check under the kitchen sink as well as the bathroom for leaks.
- Electronic appliances – ovens, stove tops and vents should be cleaned, as well as laundry machines and any other appliances that are part of the rental.
- Surfaces – do a good cleaning of the kitchen and bathroom surfaces and flooring. Scrub away any tougher stains, mould and debris.
- Toilets – make sure the toilet is clean both in and around.
- Cabinets and cupboards – if there are any stains left from food, these should be cleaned. Be thorough with the corners, hinges, shelves, and the outside of the doors.
- Do a general cleaning – we did mention tidiness isn’t the biggest priority during the inspection but if your room looks put together, you’ll appear more like a responsible tenant.
- Doors and windows – verify the handles and locks are in good shape. And open your windows to let some ventilation in.
- Floors and walls – like you did in the living room, check for cracks in the walls, floorboards for damage and carpets for stains.
- Do a sweep – grab a broom and sweep around the outside of your home, paying special attention to any cobwebs and spiderwebs.
- Front door – are the handles and locks working to keep you safe and secure? Do a wipe down of the whole front door and fly screen as well.
- Front gate and garden – is the front gate and fencing in good condition? Do a weeding of your garden/backyard if needed.
- Garage – is the garage door functioning as it should?
- Gutters – if you’re renting a standalone house, check the gutters for water damage and holes.
Now that we’ve prepared you for your routine rental inspection, there’s no need to stress. This inspection is both for you and your landlord/agent. So if there are any questions or concerns with your home, now is the time to talk about them.
More informed on rental inspections now?
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