Property condition reports are an essential part of every residential tenancy here in WA.
Done well, they have the power to help landlords and tenants save money and stress.
What is a property condition report?
A property condition report outlines a rental property’s exact condition and contents, room-by-room. It records, in detail, anything that is broken or in poor condition, like a dripping kitchen tap, a torn flyscreen in bedroom two, or a circular brown stain on the carpet in the hallway.
It’s a record of the property’s condition at the start and end of a tenancy. This record is important to both tenants and landlords because it may be used to help resolve disputes about damage to the property or the return of the bond.
But property condition reports are more than just an important part of a residential tenancy – they’re compulsory by law. The mandatory government form covers the minimum information that needs to be included in every property condition report, but a good report will also include detail above and beyond what’s outlined in the standard form.
How can a good property condition report benefit landlords?
A property condition report gives landlords an up-to-date snapshot of the state of their investment. It also helps them plan ahead because a good report highlights what is wearing out, what’s damaged, what needs repair and what needs replacing, including issues that may not have been visible or picked up during routine inspections.
A thorough property condition report with plenty of detail and photographs is also essential for landlords to claim damages or cleaning costs at the end of a tenancy.
How can a good property condition report benefit tenants?
A good property condition report can be instrumental in ensuring tenants get their bonds back. Without a clear and agreed-upon record of the property’s condition at the start of a tenancy, tenants may face difficult-to-resolve disputes about the property’s condition and their responsibility for any damage when the lease comes to an end.
What makes a good property condition report?
- Detail. A thorough report helps to eliminate doubt, confusion and disputes at the end of a tenancy. A good property condition report contains information well beyond what’s required in the mandatory form. It should include highly detailed descriptions, plenty of photographs, and possibly even videos, of every area and everything within the property. Our record here at Rentwest is 16 pages of writing and 800 photos for one report! The more information a report contains, the better.
- Accuracy. Landlords and property managers should inspect the property and complete the initial report as close to the beginning of the tenancy as possible to get the most accurate and up-to-date description of the property’s condition. Completing the report correctly is key to its validity and effectiveness, and all copies of the report need to be signed and dated by the landlord or their property manager as well as the tenant.
- Timeliness. Sticking to the timeframes associated with property condition reports can help avoid disputes. Landlords or property managers are legally obliged to provide the tenant with two copies of the report within seven days of moving into the property. If the tenant disagrees with the property’s condition as recorded in the report, they have seven days to note their changes and return one copy of the amended report to the landlord. The tenant must do this on time because the landlord doesn’t have to accept an amended report after the seven day period.
At the end of the tenancy, the landlord has 14 days to inspect the property, complete a property condition report and give a copy to the tenant.
- Engagement. To be as effective and beneficial as possible, property condition reports require attention and input from both landlord and tenant.
The tenant should start comparing the property’s condition to the report as soon as they receive it to give them time to make amendments if necessary. That means checking all areas of the property and all appliances and furnishings, such as dishwashers, ovens, and air conditioners, even if they don’t intend to use them. Amendments are ideally accompanied by photographs.
Meanwhile, landlords should review any amendments received from their tenants in case they indicate repairs need to be carried out, such as remedying a faulty pool gate or a dripping tap. If the landlord doesn’t agree with or understand the tenant’s amendments, consider meeting at the property to go through the report together. It’s much better to resolve any disparities sooner rather than later.
At the end of the tenancy, the landlord must give the tenant a reasonable opportunity to be present at the final inspection. The tenant, meanwhile, should do their best to attend – after all, it’s in their best interest.
- Technology. When it comes to preparing a property condition report, technology can help. Here at Rentwest, we use cloud-based software called Inspection Express to prepare and store our property condition reports, including the all-important accompanying photos and videos.
- Forward thinking. A good property condition report keeps an eye on future maintenance and allows landlords to plan repairs and improvements. It can help landlords identify where their property would benefit from a face-lift, like a fresh coat of paint or new carpet. This can help maintain the property’s capital and rental value and ensure it remains competitive in the rental market and attracts the best possible tenants.
Do you have questions about property condition reports or any other aspect of renting here in Perth? Get in touch with our experienced local team today.