An industry trainer has offered guidance for property managers who are sick of hearing: ‘It is cleaner now than when we moved in’.
PPM Group managing director Debbie Palmer said undertaking a final inspection is a challenge for property managers, particularly if they weren’t the ones who selected the tenant or completed the original condition report.
“When it comes to a final inspection, there are only two things that need to be taken into consideration – first is the evidence from the condition report and second is fair wear and tear,” she told RPM.
Ms Palmer has had years of experience dealing with inadequate condition reports, both during her time as a property manager and during her career as a trainer and consultant.
“I’ve seen [everything from] condition reports with no descriptions – just a tick and flick of ‘clean’, ‘working’ and ‘undamaged’ – to the very worst of agents handing a blank report to the tenant with no agent comments at all.”
According to Ms Palmer, the key to minimising disputes at the end of tenancy is to describe every fixture and fitting in detail on the condition report.
“This includes the make and model of appliances, the colour of the walls and carpets, the light fittings and window coverings,” she said.
“Take photos of the property with a date stamp and have the tenant date and sign them.”
For added assurance, Ms Palmer suggests attaching receipts to condition reports as evidence of any professional services undertaken prior to the tenant moving in – such as pest control, carpet cleaning, general cleaning, lawn and garden care, or painting.
Ms Palmer concedes that fair wear and tear has always been a contentious area for property managers and tenants.
“The definition has been, ‘What happens during the normal use of the property?’ since ‘fair wear and tear’ takes into consideration the duration of the tenancy, the age of the property and how many tenants resided in the property.”
The most sure-fire way to eliminate disputes at the end of tenancy, according to Ms Palmer, is to be thorough when completing a condition report at the beginning of the tenancy.
“To prevent any end-of-tenancy challenges, many property managers are now conducting video tours of the property to show its original condition.”
[Related: Defining 'reasonably clean']