04 Jul 12
by Perry Beebe
Every piece of documentation connected with managing a rental property has a purpose, and it's hard to argue that one is more important than another. However there is one document, prepared at the start of the rental process that can prevent a lot of problems from occurring later in the tenancy. The condition report is designed to provide objective evidence of the condition of the property prior to its occupancy. There are prescribed forms that must be used, depending on the type of tenancy. The Condition Report is designed for general tenancies i.e. house, unit, townhouse and, believe it or not, houseboat.
There is another similar form suitable for rooming accommodation, although its purpose is still the same. The most effective way to use either is for both tenants and the lessor/agent to take the time to fill out their part of the form with care. At Fanning Real Estate, a written description is provided on every line to protect both the property owner and the tenant. Once the report has been completed, both parties sign the form.
Should the tenant disagree with what the lessor/agent has marked on the form, there is a comments section where they are able to express their views. It is better still if the tenant is able to take a video or photographs of the particular area as additional evidence to strengthen their case. With today's technology, it's simple to program the camera to show the date and time the photo/video is taken as additional proof that the issue occurred before they began occupancy.
The condition report is provided to the tenant during the signing of the lease and should be returned to the lessor/agent within 7 days of receiving it. The lessor/agent should then give the tenant a copy of the form within 14 days. Any failure by the tenant to sign and return the form is a breach of law, but it is also indicating acceptance that the information contained in the report is correct. It is too late after the fact, for the tenant to go to the Tribunal and dispute the details if they have not taken the time and care to check, sign and return the form.
Having a fully completed entry condition report, with back up photos or videos, can mean the difference between having the bond returned at the end of the tenancy, or it being used to repair supposed damage. It is also in the tenant's best interest to include the lawns, gardens, pathways and outbuildings in the report, photos included. Garden sheds, for example, are not particularly sturdy, and can be easily damaged. If this damage was done by a previous tenant and is not immediately obvious, the current tenant may end up wearing the cost unless they have evidence to the contrary.
It is worth taking the time and effort to walk around and inspect the property carefully, then record the information on the correct form. In conjunction with a comprehensive set of photos or a video, the condition report protects both the tenant and the lessor/agent from any misunderstanding.
Perry is the Managing Director of All Residential Real Estate.
All Residential Real Estate is a boutique agency passionate about providing very high levels of customer service. We believe that property sales and management is about you. It's about how you feel when you sell your property or have a property managed through an agent. At All Residential Real Estate, you have very experienced professionals who take pride in everything they do.
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