Continuing from Part One, here are ten more of the biggest mistakes that property managers commit during routine inspections.
#11 – Booking in too many inspections
Ever set aside a two or three-hour time block for inspections only to find that you’ve tried to fit too many in or another person has scheduled too many for you?
The number that you can do depends on location, size and structure (2 bedroom apartment as opposed to a 4 bedroom house with a yard/garage), but a good rule to follow is how many can you easily get done in the time slot given, without rushing and compromising on quality and thoroughness, taking into account any properties you need to spend more time at due to unforeseen issues arising that require more attention and inspecting.
#12 – Not accessing all areas
When a tenant says ‘sorry you can’t access the third bedroom because’ or ‘the garage is locked and my boyfriend has the key and he’s away at the moment’ then you need to reschedule and come back to inspect that room or area. Tenant’s don’t always tell the truth (shock horror!) and they could be disallowing access for devious reasons. Naturally, never walk into a situation that could result in your safety being compromised. Perhaps bring a second person with you next time to look at that area or room if required.
Another tip is to explain at tenant sign-up and have it as a special condition that the tenant is aware that all rooms and areas will be accessed at the inspection, so they’re on notice right from the start.
#13 – Not ensuring your gadgets are powered up
Ensure that your camera, smart-phone, iPad and other gadgets are adequately charged up for your inspections. A good property manager is prepared at all times.
#14 – Not re-confirming the inspection beforehand
Just because you’ve advised the tenant that you’re coming with an official notice, you cannot assume that they always remember or that every tenant is aware of the times and dates of inspections at the property.
Send an SMS text a couple of days before to everyone on the lease reminding them of the day and time that you will be there, and even a link to download your checklist again.
#15 – Being ‘too heavy handed’
Don’t go on a power trip!
The tenant only needs to keep the property ‘reasonably clean’ and it’s not an army boot camp where everything has to be scrubbed with a toothbrush and shine.
If the house is untidy but generally clean it’s OK, and if the morning dishes are not done or the beds not made don’t trip out. If something is dirty and can affect the rental property in any way then address it with the tenant.
One of the best lines a tenant applying for a property with me once said, ‘I asked my last property manager how presentable the property should be for a routine inspection, and she replied ‘Just imagine the queen is coming around!’. Fail!!
#16 – Sending out an untrained person to do the inspection
Why send a person to do a routine inspection when they’ve received no training in this task? This means that big issues will be missed and poor tenant performance will get overlooked. Recipe for a disaster in the making!
#17 – Overlooking poor tenant performance
If the carpets are dirty, the walls grubby and other areas unacceptable don’t think ‘we can address this when the tenant leaves’.
When the tenant vacates their bond may already be taken up with overdue rent, so you may not even have a bond to use.
Here are a couple of sayings that have stuck with me – ‘If the tenant absconded tomorrow, what will they leave for me to clean up today?’ and ‘Poor routine inspection today, poor vacate inspection tomorrow’. If it isn’t up to scratch, address it today!
#18 – Not ensuring your keys are up to date
When the tenant is not home and you’re allowed to access the property but you cannot because you haven’t updated the keys or kept the check on them. Big waste of time.
#19 – Not taking adequate photos
We need to be careful here because no tribunal/court in Australia will be happy with you taking photos of tenant belongings but you can still take photos of the grounds front and back, any repairs required and also other issues and concerns. Your owners want to see not just read what’s going on. Take photos and don’t leave your clients guessing!
#20 – Not respecting the tenant’s home
Let’s face it, tenants are still treated as second class citizens in property management (in general). It really hasn’t changed.
It’s not just a rental property to them and it’s definitely not an investment or a money maker. To the tenant, it’s their home, their safe place for them and their family.
Treat them with the respect they deserve, don’t blow them off. Attend to their queries and concerns promptly. The tenant is your partner in the rental property and without them, you don’t have a job!
Give them the respect they deserve and you will have them cooperative and helpful, making your job that bit easier.