What should you look for when inspecting a rental property?

Monday 20 Jan 2020

There are plenty of things that can make a big difference to how happy you’ll be with a rental property. First National Real Estate Balwyn North suggests you pay attention to the following features:
Storage. Built-in wardrobes are an extremely handy feature that saves you the financial outlay on furniture that you may not need in your next rental property.
Security. Not all rental properties have deadlocks on doors or alarm systems, and it isn’t necessarily a legal requirement that they do. Make sure the property you inspect has security that satisfies you, as the landlord may not respond to requests for an upgrade after you move in.
Walls and carpets. Make sure you check the condition of all walls and carpets. While minor cracks shouldn’t concern you, make sure all cracks, scuffs, picture-hanging hooks and marks are noted on the Condition Report. If the agent doesn’t note them down, you have a short period of time - after you move in - to correct the record and it is vital that you do. Likewise, all marks on carpet should be clearly noted.
Dampness and mould. When inspecting the property, look out for signs of mould at the base or tops of walls and in corners. This could indicate rising damp, a leaking roof, or ventilation problems.
Smoke alarms. All rental properties in Australia must be fitted with a working smoke alarm.
Kitchen. Check the kitchen for cleanliness, built-up grease inside cupboards and on tops of cupboards. Look for signs of excrement that could indicate the presence of mice or rats. If there is a dishwasher, check that it is working and that the stove and oven is also in working order (and clean). If there is an exhaust fan, check that it works too. A good-sized pantry can be a very handy feature. Do the taps leak? Dripping taps can dramatically increase your water bill.
Bathroom. Test the taps and listen for any strange sounds that would suggest there could be a problem with plumbing. How long does it take for hot water to reach the shower? Is there a bath? Are there any leaks under the sink and does any rusty water come out when you turn the tap on? This could mean the hot water service is getting old, less efficient, and could be expensive to run. Does the toilet flush properly and fill in a reasonable amount of time?
Pool. As great as a pool can be for a family or a keen swimmer, maintaining a pool requires some commitment and expense. Talk to the property manager about the cost of pool chemicals such as chlorine, especially if you’ve never managed a pool before. Pools need topping up, cleaning, chemicals to keep them in balance, and most importantly, security fencing. Make sure the pool has safety fencing and a gate that swings shut and latches automatically.
Exterior. With houses, check for cobwebs and dust as well as the condition of guttering. Is there safe, well-lit access at night time? Is the garden well maintained and do you have the time and ability to keep it well maintained?
Rental property checklist: -
1. Storage. Does the property have built-in wardrobes or other handy storage features?  
2. Security. Does the property have deadlocks, an alarm system or window bars?
3. Walls and carpets. Are the walls and carpets in satisfactory condition?  
4. Dampness and mould. Does the property show signs of moisture problems?
5. Smoke alarms. Does the property have a working smoke alarm?  
6. Kitchen. Does the property have modern conveniences and does the stove and oven work?
7. Bathroom. Is this bathroom in a good state of cleanliness and is the hot water service delivering strong, hot water?
8. Pool. Have you considered the running costs and are you confident you can keep the water balanced?
9. Exterior. Is there safe, well lit access at night time? Is the garden well maintained and do you have the time and ability to keep it well maintained?