So how often should you inspect investment property? To ensure your investment property retains its value and marketability, you need to make sure your tenants are fulfilling their end of the bargain and looking after your property. On the flipside, you also have obligations when it comes to upkeep of the property.
There are no guarantees. A tenant with the best references, and who appears to tick all the boxes, can still damage a house or apartment, and cost you the landlord thousands of dollars.
Through neglect a garden can die or a lawn can become overgrown. By accident an oven can be caked for weeks with the remnants of an exploding one-pot wonder, or a pet may be leaving hair and odour in your pet-free unit.
Prevention over cure
When it comes to prevention over cure, there is no substitute for making regular property inspections.
Inspections can sometimes become a point of contention between landlords and tenants. Some tenants see them as an intrusion of their privacy, or feel that inspections are unnecessary.
While landlords cannot control the attitude of tenants to inspections, you can conduct inspections in such a manner so they are more likely to be welcomed.
Remind tenants that inspections are mutually beneficial, presenting landlords and tenants an opportunity to discuss ongoing maintenance issues, or other matters relating to the property. Giving tenants ample notice before an inspection will also build goodwill.
An experienced property manager will know how to conduct an inspection quickly, and with as little intrusion as possible. They will also be systematic in capturing evidence and details of any damage or maintenance that needs attention, and then report back with accuracy.
A five-minute inspection by an experienced property manager can often avert major expenses down the track.
Property inspections should be conducted as regularly as allowed under legislation, and be aware that each state is different – see table below:
DIY or property manager
If you own an investment property a few hours travel (or more) from where you live, you can claim travel expenses as a tax deduction. You are allowed a full deduction where the sole purpose of the trip relates to the rental property, however, in other circumstances you may be able to claim a partial deduction. If you wish to claim tax deductions for the inspection your own investment property, ask your accountant for more information.
The most comprehensive property inspection is only as good as the action that follows
That’s where engaging a local property manager, who has ready access to tried-and-tested tradesman ready to respond, presents a more convenient option.
If you inspect your own property, and do not have these qualified, verified, local contacts, you will probably cost yourself more money in the long run. Also, let’s face it, inspecting a tenant’s property is an uncomfortable experience for everyone – everyone except a specialist property manager who does so every week.
* In Victoria, a landlord can enter a property within 24 hours’ notice if they provide a written application, state the reason for entry and either post or personally deliver the application (allowing two days for postal delivery).
* In New Zealand, a landlord can enter a property within 48 hours’ notice if they provide a written application, state the reason for entry and either post or personally deliver the application (allowing two days for postal delivery). They can also inspect the property as regularly as every four weeks should there be reasons for concern.