Joint rental property inspections are vital in deciding which party is liable for the damages/repairs to the property. Landlords and renters often differ on who is liable for repairs or damages to a rental property. The best way to avoid conflict is to have a thorough inspection report done.
If a landlord opts to use a managing agent for the rental of his or her property, the inspection process can be easier as the agent is not emotionally involved and will certainly have established an in-depth inspection report in the interests of all parties
Why you need to inspect your property regularly
What is a rental inspection?
A detailed inspection report is often accompanied by photographs, which seeks to outline the property’s condition before the tenant takes occupation & after the tenant vacates. The inspections should always be in writing, signed by the parties and attached to the lease as an addendum.
A good inspection report should adequately document the following;
- Any nails in a wall
- Any defaults, defects, or marks/stains
- Any particular fittings or features and their condition
- Photographic evidence of any faults, as well as the general state of the entire property
When should a rental inspection be done?
The inspections are conducted at the beginning & the end of the lease period by both the landlord (or appointed agent) & tenant.
According to the Rental Housing Act the landlord is also permitted to inspect the property during the lease period as long as reasonable notice is given to the tenant & the tenant’s right to privacy is not violated.
It is important that the landlord (or agent) & tenant are present at both the entry & exit inspection. If the landlord fails to carry out an entry & exit inspection with the tenant present the property is assumed to be in acceptable condition & the landlord is not permitted to deduct any money for repair costs from the tenant’s rental deposit at the end of the lease term.
Should the tenant not respond to the landlord/agent’s request for an inspection or fail to be present at the inspection, then the landlord/agent is entitled to carry out the inspection without the tenant and document all their findings.
The Entry Inspection
The condition of the property & any pre-existing defects are meticulously recorded to determine the landlord’s responsibility in resolving the defects that affect the beneficial occupation of the tenant before occupation takes place.
The landlord is not required to fix each and every defect on the demand of the tenant. Items that are not material need only be noted so that the tenant is not held responsible for these at the end of the lease. Typically these items will not affect the tenant’s beneficial occupation of the property or the purpose for which the property has been let.
Most lease agreements allow the tenant to report additional faults that were previously missed within 7 days of the start of the lease agreement. Some defects are only discovered when living in the property. These additional items should be reported by the tenant in writing, email is typically acceptable, but check the lease stipulations of the agreement. This, together with any items that have been repaired by the landlord, should be recorded.
The Exit Inspection
On expiration of the lease, an inspection is done to determine if any damage was caused by the tenant to the property during the lease period. A tip is that the exit inspection is done on the same document as the entry inspection for ease of comparison.
The tenant is expected to return the property to the landlord in an acceptable condition (the same condition as they received it) reasonable wear and tear excepted. This means reasonable wear and tear caused by normal use & exposure over time is deemed permissible in accordance with the Rental Housing Act or lease agreement.
Any repairs to damage caused by the tenant needs be rectified before the lease expires and the tenant vacates the premises. Failure to do this will result in the landlord using the tenant’s deposit to rectify the damage. Once this happens, the tenant has no control over the repairs and this will then legally be in the landlord’s hands.
If the tenant is not present at the exit inspection the landlord is permitted to do the inspection without them being present and deduct any money needed to repair damage caused by the tenant during the lease term from the tenant’s rental deposit.
What to remember
Inspection reports can never be too detailed or thorough! It is in the best interests of the landlord & tenant to mutually inspect the property at the beginning & the end of the lease period to avoid future quarrels over which party is accountable to pay to fix the damage.
Take the legal route
If you’re looking to evict a tenant from your property and want to avoid a long drawn out case or want to limit your risk then present your case to an eviction lawyer. As a specialist in the field of evictions, our team of lawyers will evaluate your case and give you solid advice if you have a case that will hold up in a court of law.
If you need advice on your eviction case or would like us to represent your case, get in touch with Le Roux Attorneys