Routine inspections are a big part of a property manager’s day to day job. Along with the millions of other tasks they’re expected to complete, it can be tempting sometimes to rush inspections and assume everything is fine. No doubt this often leads to some serious problems down the line, especially if tenants are hiding bad or illegal behaviour.
You can never be too careful when it comes to routine inspections. At Inspection Manager we compiled a list below of red flags you should be on the look-out for.
The drug house
It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare – their house becoming a meth lab for Walter White wannabes. Fortunately, there are a number of telltale signs of tenants cooking something other than food:
-The property is starting to look like a high security prison. Bedrooms, sheds, garages are always locked and non-accessible during inspections. There are deadlocks and alarms to interior doors, surveillance cameras installed and bars on windows.
-You notice water stains, damage to ceilings, and an unusually high water bill.
-There is a hazy mist in the premises, exhaust fans are installed without permission, or makeshift ones are present.
-You think you’ve walked into a high school chemistry lab – there are glass flasks, beakers, rubber tubing and lots of chemicals.
-You find small plastic bags lying around. They could be coin bags or bags suited to hold small pieces of jewellery…or drugs.
Airbnb has become a major trend in recent years and unfortunately so has illegal subletting. Some tenants have been raking in extra cash on the side by illegally sharing the house with tourists and holiday-makers. Meanwhile, landlords are faced with additional wear and tear on their property, the cost of uninsured property damage and liability for any accidents on their premises. Make sure you watch out for the following signs of illegal subletting.
-Your tenants are requesting an extra set of keys and are vague about the reason.
-There are no personal photos on display anywhere around the house.
-The property looks too neat and “too good to be true”.
-There is extra rubbish, clothing or bedding, for example, pillows, duvets, suitcases or extra toothbrushes.
-The level of wear and tear to the property is unusual considering the number of tenants and duration they’ve been there.
-The neighbours are complaining about how many people are coming and going from the property.
Sometimes tenants (after a massive rave on the weekend) think they can get away with hiding the damage – holes in the walls, cracks on the table, or burns on the couch. Here’s how to find out if there are hidden damages at the property:
-Check behind towels that could be strategically hung to cover damage.
-Move over pot plants that are placed in the middle of the kitchen bench tops (they could be covering a large crack or stain).
-Look underneath calendars or posters to check for hidden damages to walls.
-If you notice the curtains are tied up, it’s best to inspect them for stains or holes.
-Have a look under furniture or rugs that have been moved awkwardly into unusual places (maybe to cover something).
A furry secret
We all love our furry friends, but landlords don’t if they’re an unauthorised pet. Furry residents always leave behind little signs of their existence:
-Pet hair stuck to the back of curtains and on the bottom of furniture, or in the curtain tracks.
-Animal faeces, kitty litter, yellow urine stains on carpet or lawns.
-Pet food bowls, toys or blankets.
-Pets locked in cars.
Make sure you keep an eye out for these signs of lease-breaching behaviour during your next routine inspection. Snap some photos of those red flags on Inspection Manager and send them to us (and the landlord). We’d love to see what crazy things you find!