Property Maintenance: Spring Inspection Checklist

28 August 2020

As we edge closer towards summer, it’s a great time to take a look at any properties you own and consider what maintenance work needs to be carried out. The best way to judge what work a property needs is by completing a thorough property inspection. In this blog, we share a comprehensive property inspection checklist to help you get started with your maintenance plan.

Why is good property maintenance important?

If you are a rental property owner, good property maintenance is essential for a whole range of reasons. Here are just a few of the key benefits:

  • Adds longevity to your investment.
    Staying on top of maintenance reduces the risk of property issues flying under the radar, and potentially causing bigger problems down the track.
  • Protects your investment for potential insurance claims.
    After noticing significant damage, you may be looking to make an insurance claim. Generally insurance companies will want to know whether damage to a property is sudden, or if it is due to a lack of maintenance. A ceiling leak for example may seem to be something you could claim insurance on, however if the cause of that leak is the result of poor roofing maintenance then subsequent rain, you may be out of luck.
  • Helps to build strong relationships with rental customers.
    Rental customers want to feel that the property they are living in is healthy and safe. They also want to know that when they have a concern, they will be listened to, and action will be taken promptly. By staying on top of items that arise and communicating openly, this helps to build strong, trusting relationships with rental customers. It is a two way street, if you respect and take care of your property, so will they.

What does 'good' property maintenance look like?

When we hear 'property maintenance', it’s easy to just think about the issues. But it’s actually a lot more than the occasional quick fix. At Quinovic, we believe effective property maintenance is made up of the following five things:

 

1. Regular inspections

After you settle a new rental customer into a property, the job doesn’t stop there. Many factors will affect the condition of the property over time, whether it’s the constant use of something or accidental damage. The last thing a property owner wants at the end of a lease is to have a backlog of work that needs doing, as that can mean a costly delay in getting the next rental customer in.

Top tip: We recommend checking on the condition of the property by completing an inspection every 90 days, but your insurance policy will likely detail how often this needs to be. 

 

2. Proactive and preventative maintenance

Having a proactive and preventative approach with maintenance is about identifying tasks that need to be completed and addressing them immediately, rather than waiting for them to  become a bigger problem.

Top tip: When you complete your inspections, be sure to note down anything that needs to be actioned straight away, as well as anything you feel should be checked again before the next inspection. Waiting a further 90 days to revisit something could be the difference between a small repair and a larger more costly job.

 

3. Responding to requests promptly

Lack of or delayed communication between a rental customer and property owner can hugely affect both the condition of the property and the relationship. A good relationship means both parties feel comfortable to discuss issues as they come to light, and work together to find a solution that works for everyone.

 

4. Focusing on long-term solutions

With plenty to keep on top of as a property owner, it can be tempting to use band-aid solutions when things pop up unexpectedly. Taping up a broken window rather than getting the glass replaced might seem like an easy solution but is only delaying the inevitable, and potentially putting the rental customer at risk with health and safety. 

Top tip: If you are unsure how to fix something yourself, seek the advice of a professional in that field. Consider calling a trades person and asking for a rough estimate on timeline and cost so you can make plans and inform your rental customer. 

 

5. Keeping compliant with any legal obligations

Keeping your property in good shape is not just a nicety, it’s a legal obligation. Key elements include keeping plumbing, electrical and the house structure in a safe state. The Residential Tenancies Act outlines what you as a property owner must do to comply, it’s important to read over this information and stay up to date whether you are an existing or a new property owner.

Using a property inspection checklist

An inspection checklist is not just about what to check, but also when to check it. Using this approach is a great way of saving yourself valuable time, and ensures you are checking items at the right time of year.

Spring is a great time to schedule outdoor work before the heat of summer hits. Getting gardening work done, as well as outdoor painting or touch up jobs is an easier task when you aren’t battling the weather. It’s also a great time to check on how your property held up over the winter, and potentially organise some preventative maintenance.

 

Spring inspection checklist

  1. Check the property is kept reasonably clean and tidy.
    Look for build up of dirt and grime especially in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Prolonged uncleanliness could lead to worse issues such as pest problems or staining.
  2. Keep an eye out for wear and tear.
    Inside the house things like lifting carpet or floor coverings should be fixed immediately to prevent potential tripping hazards. Chattels like ovens and curtains should be kept clear from dirt build up, and all electrical sockets should be in good working order. Check the exterior of the house for chipping paint and loose fittings.
  3. Check the roof is in good condition.
    Ensure roofing is in good watertight condition and ceiling insulation is sufficient. It may be best to have this looked over by a professional.
  4. Make sure heating vents are clean and working efficiently.
    If the vents have a build up of grime or are obstructed by furniture, they are less likely to be heating the room properly and could cause a fire hazard if near flammable items.
  5. Check all taps and under sink pipes for plumbing components that might need attending to.
    Leaking taps can cause damage to the surrounding surfaces such as cabinetry or benchtops.
  6. Look for any signs of mould and damp.
    Keep a special eye out for window sills and bathroom ceilings and walls. Bathrooms are the main offender for trapped moisture so it’s important to check that whatever you have in place for ventilation is doing the job.
  7. Check the garden for hazards e.g. trees, shrubs, plant debris.
    Keep an eye out for low hanging tree branches particularly those at eye level, and ensure large trees are not obstructing power poles.
  8. Make sure the alarm system is working.
    The alarm should be sounding clearly, and any associated lights highly visible. If you have a company monitoring your alarm system it’s a good idea to check in with them that everything is working ok.
  9. Check your smoke alarms.
    Ensure there are batteries in place and no smoke alarms have been removed.
  10. Check extractor fans are working well.
    These should be free from dirt and grime to ensure they are working to remove as much moisture as possible from kitchens and bathrooms in particular.
  11. Look out for external puddling or ponding.
    Uneven ground or decking around the property could be causing water to collect. If left this could cause weatherboards or wooden structures to rot.
  12. Make sure gutters are flowing.
    Look out for leaves clogging in areas and consider installing gutter guards where necessary. Also check the overall condition of gutters and spouts.
  13. Look over heating, cooling, ventilation systems.
    It’s also a good idea to keep a log of when regular servicing needs to be done for things like heat pumps or other ventilation systems.
  14. Check window and door locks.
    Check windows are opening and closing fully, and latches are locking correctly. Ensure door locks are in good working order too.
  15. Check your chimney and fireplace are clear.
    It’s important that chimneys are cleaned regularly to remove any build up in the flue, as this can cause fire hazards.

How can a property manager help?

If you’re finding it difficult to think about proactive property maintenance, you’re not alone. Between your own life, responding to requests from your rental customers and maintaining the property you live in, the added responsibility of thorough property inspections can feel like a lot. A property manager is a great way to take some of this pressure off. A property manager keeps on top of these things, so you can be assured your rental customer will feel taken care of. 

Property managers will generally have a list of trusted trades people they have dealt with in the past. They will also be familiar with changing legislation and health and safety requirements for any maintenance work. If you have any questions about anything property maintenance related, your local Quinovic office can provide you expert advice.

Get in touch with your local Quinovic office today.

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