If you’ve ever rented a house, you’ve probably come across a condition report. Although condition reports vary state-by-state, they all essentially perform the same function. At its core, a condition report is a document that provides information to a landlord about the current condition of a property. When undertaken at the start and the end of a lease, a condition report helps to identify the comparative condition of a property prior to, and at the end of a tenancy.
Condition reports are important documents that could be the difference between you getting your bond back and your landlord making a claim on your bond. That’s why it’s important to understand what condition reports are, why they’re important, and what your responsibilities as a tenant are.
What exactly is included in a condition report?
At a basic level, a rental condition report outlines every detail about the overall condition of a property. When an inspector comes in to perform an inspection, they will meticulously look over every detail of every room in the property, including furnishings, curtains, rugs, lights, and even power points. Condition reports also include information about the property’s exterior condition and the condition of its yard and garden.
The exact requirements of rental condition reports vary state-to-state, so it’s best to check with your state or territory’s official guidelines. However, in every case, a condition report serves the same purpose: to provide an accurate report on the overall condition of a property, both inside and out.
So, why is a condition report important? Picture this: you hand over your keys at the end of your lease and your property manager points out that there’s a nasty scratch on the kitchen cabinet. Your property manager says, “That wasn’t there before you moved in”, but you can’t remember ever making that scratch. In these situations, how do you determine who’s responsible for fixing the cabinet?
Situations like these can turn very nasty very quickly, which is why it’s important to have all your bases covered. If you were diligent in filing an accurate condition report at the beginning of your lease, you’ll avoid getting into these sorts of sticky situations in the future.
Who completes a condition report?
A condition report is initiated by the property manager or landlord. The property manager or landlord can either perform the inspection themselves, or hire a professional building inspector to do the job and draft up a condition report. The tenant will also receive a copy of a draft condition report and be asked to cross-inspect the property to ensure that they agree with all the comments.
The property manager or landlord will generally arrange entry and supply the information necessary for an inspection to be carried out. At Jim’s Building Inspections, we will send out a qualified building inspector to make a visual assessment of the property. The advantage of getting a professional to do the job is that they will be able to suss out the finer details that might be invisible to an untrained eye.
Obtaining a rental condition report doesn’t take very long. The actual inspection itself might only take a few hours (depending on the size of the property, of course) and the report will usually be handed over in a matter of days. For a few hundred dollars, a professional condition report will provide both the landlord and the tenant with peace of mind and security.
How do I get my rental bond back?
Did you know that more than $4 billion of rental bonds are held by government bodies across Australia? These days, you’re more likely to not receive your bond back than vice versa, which is why it’s important to understand why your bond might be withheld.
One of the most common reasons why bond is withheld is because the property has sustained damage. It’s important to note that there’s a distinction between reasonable ‘wear and tear’ and property damage. However, the distinction can be subtle, which is why it happens to be one of the major causes of dispute between landlords and tenants.
So, what is considered fair ‘wear and tear’? Fair ‘wear and tear’ would include things like faded curtains, faded paint, and loose door handles, whereas property damage would include things like broken mirrors, carpet stains, and badly scratched floors. If the property has suffered damage, then your landlord is allowed to make a claim on your bond to cover the cost of repairs.
Another reason why your bond may be withheld is because the property has not been left in a reasonably clean condition. Again, the responsibilities of landlords and tenants vary state-by-state, but generally speaking, tenants are usually held responsible for leaving the property in a clean condition. We generally recommend organising getting an End of Lease Cleaning service done by a reputable cleaning company as it will save you time and potentially money in the long-run. These companies know exactly how to clean a property according to rental standards, so you’ll be much more likely to get your bond back.
A grey area in the cleaning process is whether or not the tenant is responsible for getting the carpets professionally cleaned. Once again, the details vary depending on your state or territory. For example, in NSW, it’s against the law for landlords to require their tenants to have their carpets professionally cleaned (unless they have a pet). However, in Victoria, landlords or agents can legally include this requirement as a special term on a lease.
A condition report works to provide both the landlord and the tenant peace of mind. If done properly and diligently, these reports will ensure that you won’t run into any nasty disputes later on down the line. If you’re on the lookout for a qualified building inspector to produce a rental condition report, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Jim’s Building Inspections. Contact us today on 13 15 46 or visit us online.
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