Should property managers be conducting routine inspections during the Corona Pandemic Self Isolation ?
Asset Agents is taking the Corona Pandemic very seriously. About 2 weeks ago we left our office premises and we all now work from our homes. We are self isolating ourselves and the main person only going out into the big scary world is me. I am showing properties to tenants via private inspections, doing the routine inspections and soon will be doing entry and exit reports. 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 months 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 ceased 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 Agency’s 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 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 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 Corona virus, 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 that do not have the Corona Virus but are class 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 tenant should make during routine inspections
- Turn all the lights are on. If a lift is not on we will turn it on
- 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 than means no more cuddles
- Log maintenance through our portal, not at verbally during the inspection
Precautions Property managers should take when doing routine inspections.
Here is a list of what I am doing to ensure the safely of myself and our tenants.
- Wearing a glove on my left hand
- The glove is used for 1 property and then thrown away
- 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 finish sooner
It’s currently not recommended that mask be worn, mask are also very hard to obtain. For high
Can the frequency of routine inspections be decreased.
Yes they can. Depending on how well a tenant present the property. We are now reducing our routine inspections to just 2 a year until the Pandemic is under control. 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.
With routine inspections we mainly find concerns with these items listed below, which are all challenging to detect with photos supplied by a 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 do proper manage 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.