A final inspection is done at the end of the tenancy to determine the final condition of the property and bond refund. When damage has occurred it could be as a result of ‘malicious damage’ or ‘accidental damage’ both of which are the responsibility of the tenant and the third is ‘fair wear and tear”.
‘Fair wear and tear’ is something that occurs through normal use or normal changes that take place with the ageing of the property. It is a broad term and can be open to interpretation. So where is the line drawn? What is a tenant responsible for and what is a landlord responsible for?
If a bond refund was to be determined by the tribunal/court, they would consider the following;
- How long have the tenants resided in the property? How many tenants have resided in the property previously?
- Age of the property, fixtures & fittings (i.e. age of the carpets or last date the property was painted, etc)
- Current depreciation status of the items in dispute
- How was the property presented to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy?
Some grey areas that can be open to interpretation could include:
- Marks on walls, carpets, curtains, etc
- Holes in window and door screens
- Cleanliness (i.e. oven, stove, windows, light fittings, light switches, skirting boards, exhaust fans, etc).
By being prepared you can help to determine the best outcome. Send the tenant a Final Inspection cleaning guide. Highlight important areas that need to be addressed prior to the tenant vacating. Use it to set an expectation in relation to what needs to be cleaned and any repairs that the tenant may need to conduct or organise. A pre-final inspection can help in this regard.
Ensure that ongoing inspections are thorough and have supporting photographs so a direct comparison can be made should a dispute arise.