Condition Reports and Rental Bonds
Condition reports and rental bonds are tools used to protect you, the landlord.
Rental Property Condition Reports
Rental Condition Reports provide a detailed, room-by-room breakdown of your property’s condition at the beginning of your tenant’s lease. Ensure that your condition report has two columns for each room, one for your observations and the other for your tenant’s.
You must complete your version of this report before the tenant moves in. Once complete, give your tenant two copies on their move-in date – one for them to keep, the other for them to complete, sign and return to you. If possible, both you and your tenant should take photos of the property before the lease begins to show its original condition. Even if you don’t take a private rental bond, we still strongly recommended that you complete a condition report at the start of each tenancy.
Once your tenant vacates your property at the end of their lease, you’ll be able to identify general wear and tear, and/or any significant damage the tenant has caused. The Rental Condition Report is important because it can be used as evidence if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning or damage repairs.
There are various rental property condition report templates available for you to download and use. However, requirements may differ slightly from state to state, so ensure you are using the right form – a quick Google search for your state’s condition report will get you on the right track.
Usually, the process of using a condition report will involve the following steps:
- Complete the landlord/agent section of the Property Condition Report Form
- Sign and date the form
- Give the form to your tenant to complete. Inform them they have 3 business days to complete, sign and return the landlord’s/agent’s copy of the report.
- At the end of the tenancy, complete the report on the back of the landlord/agent’s copy (your copy).
What you should include
On your condition report, you’ll want to include everything from your entrance doorframe to the bathroom floors. Don’t forget to include the condition of any built-in cupboards, all fittings and fixtures should be accounted for. Also, be sure to record the exterior of your home – yards (back, front, and sides), sheds, garages, letterboxes, and driveways included.
What to look out for
It may seem a little pedantic to go through and record every nook and cranny in your property but trust us when we say it’s worth it. If you ever run into a dispute with a tenant, you’ll want to be sure you can back yourself.
Here are a few things you should keep your eye out for because your tenant will surely be doing the same.
- Cracks, chips, holes, peeling paint, mould or water stains
- Worn or stained floorcoverings
- Dust, grease, grime, dirt, oil, cobwebs
- Dripping taps, deteriorated flywire
- Weeds, dry patches, dying plants, overgrowth
- Problems with hot water, stove, oven, reticulation
- Problems with locks, doors or windows
- Signs of mice or cockroaches.
Bonds for rental properties
A rental bond is a security deposit your tenant pays at the start of a tenancy. It is paid back to the tenant at the end of their tenancy provided no money is owed to the property owner for rent, damages, or other costs.
It’s not compulsory for you to take a bond from your tenant. However, we strongly recommend doing so to ensure you are covered if there are any unforeseen damages or outstanding rent payments at the end of their tenancy.
Each state has different rules regarding the maximum bond you can take, time limits and where the money should be held. So be sure you refer to your state’s legislation to ensure you’re conducting this process correctly.