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 can often lead to some serious problems down the line, especially if tenants are hiding/performing questionable or illegal substances or behaviour.
You can never be too careful when it comes to routine inspections. At Inspection Manager we compiled a list below of red flags or warning signs as a property manager to look out for when completing a routine inspection.
A Drug House or Trap House
It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare – their residential property becoming a place to shelter and hide drug users, whilst also providing a place for drug dealers to supply them. Fortunately, there are a number of warning signs and red flags to look out for in the tenant’s rental property:
- The property is starting to look over protected and like a prison; Bedrooms, sheds, garages are always locked and non-accessible during routine 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.
Illegal Subletting to a Rental Property
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 rental property. Make sure you watch out for the following warning signs and red flags 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 rental property.
- The rental 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 rental 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.
Hidden Damages to a Rental 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 warning signs and red flags of of possible hidden damages at the rental property:
- Check behind towels or hanging paintings 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 Hidden Pet in a Rental Property
We all love our furry friends, but landlords don’t if they’re an unauthorised pet. Pets always leave behind little signs of their existence so here are some warning signs and red flags to look out for:
- Pet hair stuck to the back of curtains and on the bottom of furniture, or in the curtain tracks.
- Pet smells.
- Animal droppings, kitty litter, yellow urine stains on carpet or lawns.
- Pet food bowls, toys or blankets.
- Pets locked in cars.
Use Inspection Manager to it’s full capacity to capture any potential issues in advance. What are some of warning signs or red flags you’ve seen at routine inspections? We’d love to hear some other examples!
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