This may sound like a bold statement but I’m putting it out there in any case. “Most tenancy issues are a result of poor process around the time that the tenancy starts”. Unfortunately however, a lot of the time the issue, or issues don’t reveal themselves until well into the term of the tenancy or at the end of the tenancy.
Good process around the start of the tenancy is paramount to ensuring that problems and misunderstandings are kept to a minimum. We all know that good due diligence is required around checking out a prospective tenants credentials with credit and reference checking. But time and time again I see property management companies and private landlords drop the ball with their processes after they have decided on a particular tenant.
At Propertyscouts we are constantly updating our documentation to ensure that it is relevant and pertinent to the property in question. In particular it seems that we have been making constant changes to our tenancy agreements of late to ensure compliance with the likes of the Healthy Homes Standards. If you are a private landlord and you are using tenancy agreements that are a year or so old then chances are they won’t be sufficient.
It’s very important when signing up a new tenant that they fully understand all aspects of the tenancy agreement. We arrange a tenant induction with all new tenants which explains each and every clause in our tenancy agreement. We have prepared the tenancy induction in a video format and we play that to all new tenants before they sign their tenancy agreement. Having the induction in video format also means that if for some reason the new tenants can’t attend our tenancy induction in person we can email them the link.
- also include a ‘guide to getting your bond back’ document as part of our tenancy agreements which we email out again closer to the end of tenancy. The ‘guide’ outlines the type and level of cleaning the tenants should be doing in preparation for the exit inspection.
Good processes at the time of the entry inspection are also very important to ensure that problems at the end of the tenancy are kept to a minimum. I doubt that there would be a property manager in the country who hasn’t turned up to a final inspection and had the tenant claim that the property is “so much cleaner than when they moved in”. And while that can be the case, in my experience it’s the exception rather than the rule. So, during the entry inspection take lots of photos. Ensure that every room is fully photographed – walls, doors, ceilings and floors. The same goes for the outside of the property, take lots of photos showing the condition of the gardens and lawns. At Propertyscouts, as well as fully photographing the property at the entry inspection, we also video it. The ‘voice over’ commentary in the video can be very important when a year or two later you are trying to resolve an issue with the tenant.
- every tenancy issue can be prevented by utilizing good processes, but its amazing the number of disputes that can be resolved at the end of a tenancy by simply inviting the tenants into your office to view the entry inspection photographs and video. And if that doesn’t do the trick and you end up at the Tenancy Tribunal then your photos will prove invaluable, as there was never a truer word said that ‘a picture tells a thousand words’.