Renting tips – The most important part of any tenancy
The most important document that a tenant signs, is their Property Condition Report. Before a new tenant moves into their home and starts unpacking their boxes there is one very important task that needs to be done first! A good real estate agent will have diligently prepared a comprehensive document that details the condition of the entire property both internal and external. Video footage and digital photographs will provide additional protection for both landlord and tenant. At the end of any tenancy, the only evidence that can be relied upon to determine any potential disputes are those documents that were agreed upon at the beginning of the tenancy.
In NSW, bond money belongs to the tenant unless the landlord can prove that they are entitled to make a claim for cleaning or damages. No property is ever perfect and the integrity of a Property Condition Report will be based on the inclusion of every scuff mark and every bit of dust built up in the window tracks. You can’t measure degrees of dirtiness which means that landlord’s should endeavour to let the property in a clean and undamaged condition. If the carpets were 25% dirty before the tenancy and then 75% dirty when the tenant moves out, it will be very difficult to legally remedy the increase. The carpet should be cleaned before the property is rented otherwise there is every chance that the tenant could return the property with filthy carpets as opposed to ‘not clean’ carpets, with no opportunity to make a claim against the bond money.
The initial report should be given to the tenant when they receive keys to the property. In NSW, the tenant then has seven days to check the content. It is a great idea to encourage the tenant to provide any additional comments or photos that they feel appropriate. Once the report has been considered by the tenant, it is good practice to have the tenant initial every page, including the printed photos to provide additional integrity to the report. If there are any discrepancies between the original report and the copy that was returned by the tenant it is a good idea to arrange for photos and or video footage to be carefully recorded. It is better to deal with any disagreement in the early days rather than face a dispute and possible Tenancy Tribunal proceedings at the end of the tenancy.
Sometimes the hardest Property Condition Reports for real estate agents are those that involve a rental property that the landlord has just vacated and placed on the rental market for the first time. Agents don’t want to offend their landlords by detailing every little thing that was missed during the often busy and stressful time of relocating. It is very common to have missed at least something in the house, a drawer in the bathroom vanity or the top shelf in the linen cupboard. At the end of the day, the accuracy of the report can be called into question unless the report includes the good, the bad and the ugly.