So it’s finally time! You’re ready to pack the house up and take the holiday of a lifetime! Good for you! You’re going to rent the house out to generate some income while you’re away? Very clever move ... but let us give you a few tips before you go, so coming home is just a joyful for you.
Some owners go into this set-up with the right mindset - fully aware that “someone” will be living in the house in the interim, so it won’t look exactly the same when they return.
Tenants are protected by several clauses in the lease when it comes to “wear and tear” on a property. That term covers:
* Minor damage to walls and paint, like dents, scuff marks and flaking paint
* Minor damage to floors including minor scratches to polished floors, minor chips to tiles, minor damage to vinyl flooring
* Minor damage to fences, including dents to colorbond panels and missing palings from timber fences. Also damage to gates
Most discontent comes from how clean the house is when the owners come back. Everyone has their own level of clean. To rent a property the house only needs to be “reasonably clean” but there is no definition of “reasonably”.
To keep an even playing field anyone renting a property to a tenant has to complete a Condition Report and provide a copy to the tenants when the lease commences. The tenant has 7 days to go through the report and agree or disagree with the comments made by the Agent/Landlord. The Condition Report is then kept on file until the end of the tenancy and is referred back to when the tenant vacates.
The importance of the Condition Report can not be over-stated. Our Agency includes up to 400 colour photos of the condition of the property when the tenant takes possession.
If you want your home returned in immaculate condition, it needs to be handed over to the tenants in that condition.
If the ingoing condition report states that the oven “needs a wipe over” then the tenant doesn’t need to clean the oven prior to vacate.
We thoroughly recommend having the house professionally cleaned prior to the tenant taking possession.
Imagine that at the end of a tenancy the Agent/Landlord notices that the oven needs a wipe over. We refer back to the Condition Report and see that the condition of the oven was listed as “Professionally cleaned and immaculate” and the tenant has agreed to that comment. There is no wiggle room. The tenant is required to clean the oven to a professional standard or pay for the oven to be cleaned to that standard.
The Landlord/Agent can’t fudge the truth on the Condition Report either, because the tenant is provided with a copy and has 7 days to agree or disagree.
So, imagine again, that upon vacate the Agent notices that the oven needs a wipe over. We refer back to the conditions report and see that the condition of the oven was “Professionally cleaned and immaculate” but the tenant has disagreed and written, “dirty and greasy” then there is a gray area that could go either way at Tribunal.
To minimise any risk of being disappointed at the end of the tenancy here are some ideas ...
1. Pay for a professional clean prior to the beginning of the tenancy. You can’t be expected to clean to a professional standard straight after you’ve moved out and right before you take the adventure of a lifetime!
2. Have the carpets professionally cleaned and have a handyman attend to any odd jobs that you didn’t get around to. Tenants are required to maintain to the current standard. If something is a little broken at the beginning of the tenancy, it may be irreparable at the end of the tenancy and there is nothing an Agent can do to recoup any costs.
3. Have the lawns and gardens attended to by a professional just prior to the commencement of the lease. There may be a delay between when you leave and when the lease starts. Have it done professionally a day or two before the lease begins.
4. Use an Agent to manage the house while you’re away. The last thing you need to be doing is chasing a tenant’s arrears while you’re on the trip of a lifetime!