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Why a vague Property Inspection Report is costing you money

1st January 2013
Beware! A checklist approach to Property Inspection Reports can cost you dearly!

Beware! A checklist approach to Property Inspection Reports can cost you dearly!

The previous post on standard-setting has given you hints that not all Property Inspection Reports are created equal. But what’s the difference between a “good” Report and a “bad” Report? How are you meant to know – especially if you’ve never seen a Property Inspection Report before?

“Bad” Property Inspection Reports are lacking in detail

The kind of Property Inspection Report that’ll be problematic further down the track is one that’s thin on detail. And unfortunately, these sorts of reports are very widespread, as that’s the common format of template available for purchase.

These off-the-shelf reports have tick boxes (for “good”, “average” and “poor”), and one additional line for comments. This usually isn’t enough space to write a detailed report, so the report will require addendum sheets to be pinned onto it. Often a property manager will not record all the current property condition, because there is just a tick box and a one line space, therefore that’s all that is filled out.

What’s more, many property managers haven’t been trained in how to complete a thorough Property Inspection Report, and they’re not even aware that they should use addendum sheets. The result? A Report that’s too vague to be of any real use.

An example of an actual Property Inspection Report we’ve seen from another property management company notes the wallpaper in the lounge, dining room, kitchen and hallway as being in “average” condition, with the additional comment “wallpaper loose”.

This then raises questions as to whether the paper in all four rooms is loose, or just in one area? Is the wallpaper lifting at the joins, maybe in certain places, or is the entire wallpapered area bubbling? Are there sheets hanging off the walls? What’s in this Property Inspection Report raises more questions than it answers.

On the other hand, a good, thorough report leaves no room for ambiguity.

A thorough Property Inspection Report provides accurate and meaningful information

Let’s take the wallpaper example again, to see what would make the Report more meaningful. A better record would be:

Lounge wall, north east corner, upper level (adjoining ceiling): 200mm length of wallpaper lifting at join.

Note: the above description isn’t intended to set a standard for the preferred level of detail in a Property Inspection Report, it’s just there to give an example of what’s better than writing “wallpaper loose”.

Written Reports aren’t your only tool

While the Property Inspection Report is a vital piece of documentation in property management, they’re not the only tool available to a property manager or property owner.

The Report should be accompanied by detailed photographic records; these will often help to clarify any written explanations. Photographic records are a handy tool – but they certainly don’t replace the Property Inspection Report, especially if a case ever ends up at the Tenancy Tribunal.


Not all Property Inspection Reports are created equal: make sure that the Reports on your property are detail-rich. It’ll minimise any misunderstandings or ambiguities, and can save you a lot of time and hassle further down the track.



Next step:

Find out why a detailed Property Inspection Report can save you money. Read on…



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