The coronavirus has caused havoc throughout the world and there is no doubt it will only get worse if people are not following the guidelines of social distancing. Even though the pandemic is still going on, the rental market is still continuing as best as it can. There are still tenants that are moving in and out of homes, and landlords are ready to fill their homes quickly before the new lockdown takes place.
Open for inspections are only by private appointment
All open for inspections have been ceased for now. This is in order to prevent large groups from gathering in close proximity. Across the country, there are agencies that are uploading virtual tours or are conducting inspections via private appointments of one person only. The website realestate.com.au has a digital inspection tool where agents can upload tours of the homes. There is a new option where you can book a private inspection for a home. Up to 70 per cent of rental listings will now come with this option. Property management services are trying to make it as easy as possible for people to engage in the rental or selling process.
For private inspections, individuals who are inspecting the property must not have any symptoms of the virus-like a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and fever. All parties need to practise hand hygiene before they enter the property, such as sanitising their hands. Agents need to have hand sanitiser on hand for the potential tenants who are visiting and make sure they are not touching any fittings or fixtures. They must also make sure that everyone is sticking to the distancing rule of 1.5 metres. The occupants of the house must not be at the home while the inspections are taking place. The tenants are required to tell the property manager if they are feeling sick, so the inspection can be postponed.
It is also important that the agent writes down the details of the people who inspect the property such as the time they were there, date, number, email, and name in case there is an outbreak. The routine inspections that are carried out by the property manager or the landlord can legally still occur. Still, the majority of agencies have gone towards virtual inspections where the tenant sends in a video of the property. If there is a good reason for a physical inspection to take place, then caution is advised for the tenants and the inspectors that are visiting.
Both of the parties must not have any symptoms of COVID-19 and again, the tenant must not be in the house during the inspection. Tenants must still receive the normal notice for an inspection to take place. The agents will need to get in contact the tenant before the inspection occurs to make sure it is safe to enter the property. Most are conducting virtual inspections, however.
Repairs and maintenance
Tenants will need to continue reporting any maintenance and repair problems to their property manager as they occur. Emergency maintenance and repairs will continue to proceed, but if something is not classed as important, it is advised to revisit the problem once the pandemic has calmed right down.
It is important that we limit the risk and spread of the virus between tenants and tradespeople. If we all do the right thing, we can stop the spread of the virus and hopefully the rental industry can go back to normal. If rental inspections go back to the way they were before it will make it easier for the tenant, the property manager and the landlord. Until then, agent fees for property management will continue as inspections continue virtually.