How to conduct property inspecitons

ALL ABOUT PROPERTY INSPECTIONS

As landlords or property managers, we have few opportunities to catch up with our tenants or look at the state of our properties. The requirements to give our tenants an undisturbed living experience and home is important, but it is equally important for landlords to keep an eye on how things are going with and at the property.

At Metro NZ Properties we value of regular contact that property inspections present. Not only does this contact ensures that a positive tenant – landlord relationship is cemented, it also provides an opportunity to gauge whether there have been changes in the tenants position.

Conduct Regular inspections

We conduct our inspections regularly every 3 months. This timeframe is a good balance between providing privacy and remaining in control. The inspections are all conducted on-site by one of our property managers. We give the tenant a choice of whether they would like to be present. Some prefer not to be and we respect this. Where tenants want to be present, it gives us a great opportunity to catch up and also give the tenant more information on how we operate.

The inspections take around half an hour, unless there issues that arise which may extend that time.

We’re careful to be detailed and make sure that everything is well documented. For that we use software designed for this purpose.

As property managers we have to give at least 48 hours of notice before we enter the property.

Insurance Obligations

As a landlord you should take a very careful look at your insurance policy and what it states regarding to inspections. While some insurance companies are more lenient, others expect 3 monthly inspections for them to uphold the insurance agreement.

What we look for

The tenant

With our rigorous tenant selection process we seldom experience, or indeed expect issues. But circumstances can change. During an inspection we usually see at first glance whether we can foresee issues and will address them with the tenant in a professional manner.

The property    

With the new healthy home guidelines we’re obliged to ensure that the property continues to comply to the regulations and whether there are issues developing that may cause the property to fall outside of these regulations.

Then there are particular areas that we address. They may include:

  • Potential for leaks, e.g. under sinks
  • Are there areas where mould has developed or may be developing
  • Are the gardens maintained
  • Is there any new damage that has not been reported
  • Any potential problem areas that may cause long-term damage, e.g. seals around windows, chipping or cracking paint.

Reporting

Where possible we take photographic evidence taking care to protect the privacy of the tenant. A detailed report is then presented to the landlord, together with our recommendations.

Why Tenants are reluctant to report issues to property managers and landlords

We always ask our tenants to report issues that they come across but found that some of them are reluctant to do that. They may be concerned that they get the blame or that the rent may be affected and may either ignore the issue or try to remedy the issue themselves. For good reason we note in our tenancy agreement that issues have to be reported and that tenants are not to make repairs themselves. The reason for this is that it may affect warranties or insurance, or as we’ve noted in some cases, the repairs are not done correctly and lead to more issues. All things we’d rather avoid by getting professionals to do that job.

Should landlords do their own property inspections of hand that off to a property management company?

Many landlords conduct property inspections themselves and that’s OK. There are however benefits to handing this off to a property management company.

  • Maintaining some professional distance between landlord and tenant just makes sense.
  • Ensuring that inspections are done.
  • Ensuring that a written report exists with proof that the inspection was done. This is required for some insurances.
  • A good property management company will be able to identify areas that are likely to cause issues and address those proactively.
  • We get to know the properties we manage and can match tenant and property when the time comes to renew the tenancy.

There are many reasons that you should engage a property management company. Landlords are reluctant to actually do regular inspections and we find that a lot of frustration can  be avoided by appointing a good property management company to look after your rental portfolio.

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