Conducting a property inspection during the tenancy
You can build rapport with your tenant by being courteous during property inspections. This involves providing adequate notice, selecting a suitable time and day, and encouraging two-way feedback.
1. A landlord must give a tenant at least 48 hours notice before conducting an inspection.
Tip: When you are signing the Tenancy Agreement with your tenant, let them know that you will carry out regular inspections of the premises during the tenancy. Explain the lawful process for inspections and build rapport with the tenant from the beginning.
Tip: Ring your tenant after you send the written notice and check if the proposed time is convenient. If you are willing to amend the inspection date to suit the tenant, it will help you build a good relationship with them.
2. A landlord can inspect only once in any four week period.
3. Inspections must take place between 8 am and 7 pm.
Tip: The tenant does not have to be present during the inspection, but ask if they want to be present.
Tip: If the tenant is not going to be present at the inspection, ask them to leave a note of any specific things they want you to look at. This can help alert you to imminent maintenance issues.
Tip: Always take the opportunity to thank the tenant if it is clear they are taking good care of the property.
What to do if something shows up in the inspection
Tenants must notify their landlord immediately if something needs to be repaired - but sometimes this does not happen and the landlord discovers a repair or maintenance issue during an inspection.
A tenant is responsible for any damage they or their guests cause - either intentionally or carelessly.
Tip: Always take a digital camera and the property inspection report you completed at the start of the tenancy (as part of the Tenancy Agreement). You can refer to the report when asking the tenant about a repair or maintenance issue. You can take photos in case the matter is disputed at a later date.
Explain the tenant’s responsibilities under the agreement for the repair or damage.
If you have a good relationship with the tenant, you may agree for the tenant to do the required work, and for you to return on a specified date to check that the work has been done to your satisfaction.
If you think the repair or maintenance issue is contentious, or if the tenant is reluctant to do the work, you should follow a more formal process. Give the tenant a 14 days’ notice advising them what needs to be fixed.
Tip: In your notice, specify the work must be done on or before the end of the 14 days. You should also tell them the date that you will be back to enter the premises and inspect that the work has been done.
If the tenant does not do the work, or does not do the work satisfactorily, then you can file an application to the Tenancy Tribunal for the repair work to be done, or for the tenancy to be terminated for breach of the Tenancy Agreement.