Should property managers be conducting routine inspections during the Corona Pandemic Self Isolation ?
Asset Agents is taking the Corona Pandemic very seriously. Just as Covid -19 hit, one of our clients got the virus. At the time we all thought it was going to sweep through the country. Luckily since them things have calm down, but its still important we don’t become complacent. We are now back doing open homes and its mostly business as usual. . People on the Sunshine Coast are wondering should we be doing Routine Inspections During the Corona Pandemic on the Sunshine Coast ?
How long will the Corona Pandemic last?
The first thing is we need to wonder how long will this Coronas Pandemic be around? The Australian Government has a 6-month plan simply because it’s not possible to plan past that. Experts claim a vaccine is over 12 months away, if ever. So to me, it feels like this is the new way of life for an indefinite period of time and we just need to get used to the new world. If we cease to do routine inspections now, at what stage do we start them again?
Asset Agents is following RTA and REIQ’s best practices, during the Corona Pandemic
Real Estate agencies are required to comply with our contractual obligations and common law obligations for our landlords. We are legally required to conduct regular routine inspections to monitor the condition of the property and its inclusions during the term of a tenancy. This legislation has not changed.
If a tenant has the Coronavirus or has symptoms like the virus, the routine inspection will be rescheduled by up to 30 days, but will still need to proceed at some stage.
If the tenant has a visitor with the Corona Virus or has symptoms like the virus, the routine inspection will be rescheduled by up to 30 days, but will still need to proceed at some stage.
If I feel unwell or have the Coronavirus, I will not conduct any routine inspections and will be in self-isolation.
If the tenant has a low immunity system, it’s best they vacate the property during the inspection time.
Tenants in High-Risk Categories
People who do not have the Coronavirus but are classified as high risk should ensure they vacate the property when the routine inspection is being done. These are
- People with compromised immune systems (such as people who have cancer);
- Elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (as they have higher rates of chronic illness);
- People with chronic medical conditions
Precautions tenants should make during routine inspections
- Turn all the lights on. If a light is not on, we will have to.
- Open all the doors. With all the doors open, we will not need to touch them.
- Leave the property as I arrive, even if you stand in the yard, your car or street.
- Practice social distancing. Yes, that means no more cuddles.
- Log maintenance through our portal, not verbally during the inspection.
Precautions Property managers should take when doing routine inspections.
When the virus first hit our precautions weere much higher. They have now been relaxed slightly Here is a list of what I am doing to ensure the safety of myself and our tenants.
- Applying hand sanitiser prior to getting out of the car
- Apply hand sanitiser when I get back into the car
- Not touching anything, unless I need to open a door or turn a light on
- Inspections take around 20 minutes but I am now trying to rush these to be finished sooner
- I will not attend an inspection if I am unwell or if a tenant is unwell.
It’s still not recommended that mask be worn.
Can the frequency of routine inspections be decreased?
Yes, they can. Depending on how well a tenant presents the property. We were reducing our routine inspections, but this now appears to not be required. We will make these decisions based on how tenants present the home and instructions from the landlords, the owners. Here is a tip to all the tenants, if you have a routine inspection coming up, make the house shine and you may not have to see your property manager for another 6 months. You can read my article here about preparing for a routine inspection.
Why tenants can’t send their own photos as a virtual routine inspection.
The government has suggested tenants send in their own photos. But that really won’t help too much. With routine inspections, we mainly find concerns with these items listed below, which are all challenging to detect with photos supplied by tenants.
- Damage by pets
- Smells by pets
- Damage to walls
- Approved outside pets inside
- Weeds to lawns and gardens
If the pandemic was ending in 6 months time
Of course, if we all knew this was ending in 6 months’ time, we can kick back, take it easy and do routine inspections then. But that’s not the case. No one knows when this will be over. We can only go by the experts who claim it will take around 2 years to get it sorted, if ever. Not doing routine inspections for that type of time frame is not viable.
Follow the above and inspections are safe for all parties. Do your next routine inspection right and your proper manager may be able to extensively delay your next one with the permission of the landlord. You can read another article I have written about how the Corona Virus is effecting real estate on the Sunshine Coast here.