A tenant who revealed a property agent's requirements for a routine inspection has sparked outrage among renters, with some saying it looks more like an end-of-lease checklist.
Sharing a snap of the 20-item list on Reddit, the Perth man asked if he would be in breach of his lease for not attending to one or more of the conditions, as his agent indicated.
"Please follow the guide for your upcoming routine inspection to ensure no cleaning items are missed," the note reads. "The list below outlines all areas your property manager will be checking. Failure to have these items cleaned will result in a breach notice being issued."
"Can you really be served a breach notice for one or more of these items not being attended to?" the author of the post asked.
The list includes windows being cleaned inside and out, along with flyscreens, tracks and sills; cobwebs removed from all light fittings and eaves; and for lawns to be mowed, edged and weeded. It also states that the garden soil must be "turned".
In Western Australia, inspections for rental properties can be carried out up to four times a year or once every quarter, with notice to be given seven to 14 days in advance.
"Property management agencies have perverted the purpose of rental inspections to the point of ridiculousness, mainly because reporting back to landlords about the cleanliness of their tenants is a way to demonstrate that the landlord is actually getting some sort of service in exchange for their property management fees," one Redditor opined.
"Rental inspections are supposed to be about making sure you're not damaging the property; i.e. no holes in the walls, mould in the bathroom, chips in the paint. That sort of thing," she continued. "Cleanliness doesn't really factor into it unless you've let the place get filthy to the point that there's an insect/rodent infestation or something like that."
"That was my understanding of a rental inspection. I was never expected to be judged on my tidiness," the original poster replied, as angry Redditors shared their own bad experiences with inspections.
Others pointed out that no reasonable landlord would kick someone out for something as trivial as a light globe being blown. "Mostly a landlord just wants to know their place isn't a) being damaged or b) a rubbish tip," someone commented.
What the law says
In an interview with Yahoo News Australia, Tam Leslie, Director and Head of Property Management for Ray White Albany, explained that during routine inspections, tenants simply need to make sure that the rental is reasonably clean.
"They are calling it a guide but then go on to say that if it's not done it will result in a breach, which I found interesting," Ms Leslie said of the cleaning checklist in question. "Personally, I think this could have been worded better as I feel they are trying to point out areas that people forget to do."
"The Tenancy Act states the home is to be reasonably clean, so you would not expect the need to clean most of these items every three months," she added.
"My personal expectation would be that I can see the home is being maintained and in a clean condition but lived in. I would expect the lawns to be freshly mowed and gardens to be generally weed-free, but minor weeds would be acceptable, and I would not expect for soil to be turned," Leslie commented. "I have never heard of any property manager asking for this to be done at a routine or an outgoing [inspection]."
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