Will Your Ingoing Report Help You At The Tribunal?

Ingoing condition reports are boring, cumbersome and they take forever (if you're doing it correctly). But they are vitally important in protecting your asset.

Will Your Ingoing Report Help You At The Tribunal?
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Ingoing condition reports are boring, cumbersome and they take forever (if you’re doing it correctly). But they are vitally important in protecting your asset.

In a nutshell, the ingoing condition report is an accurate reflection of the condition/appearance of the property before the tenant takes up occupancy, so you know how the property should be returned when the tenant vacates the premises. Both the landlord or landlord’s agent and tenant need to remark on the condition of every item of every part of the property based on three criteria: Whether it is clean, undamaged and working.

It must be completed before the tenant moves in, and both the landlord (or landlord’s agent) and the tenant must agree on it.

A comprehensive, detailed and thorough ingoing condition report will save you so many headaches when it comes time to do the outgoing inspection. But because that moment seems so far away, many landlords/property managers can forget this crucial part of the leasing process.

Make it simple for yourself the next time you need to do one and follow my guidelines below:

Have the property prepared in terms of maintenance and cleaning

This is just to make completing the report simpler. You want to be able to say that everything was in fine working order and clean before the tenant moved in, therefore you expect the same (less normal wear and tear) when the tenant moves out.

If bits and pieces aren’t working and some areas haven’t been properly cleaned, you’re asking for disputes at the outgoing inspection, which means headaches for you (that could’ve been avoided).

Get your handyman there and get a pre-lease clean prior to undertaking the report.

Allocate the time

...and then some. A correctly completed condition report can take a long time. I’d allocate a couple of hours for a unit and then anywhere from 3-5 hours for a house, depending on the size.

Make sure your phone is charged

To do a report right, you need to take a boatload of photos, and if you’re like most people you’ll take these on your phone.

It would be quite annoying to get halfway through and then have your phone die on you, meaning you’ll need to come back to complete.

Move through the property in a logical order

Make it simple to understand. It’s quite likely that a different person will use this report for the outgoing inspection (if you use a property manager, or if the property is sold etc), so you don’t want any confusion over which area you’re reporting on.

The best practice I’ve found is to start from the front door and move through in a logical sequence, room by room.

Comment on EVERYTHING in each room

As mentioned in the intro - you need to remark on every item in every room. That means everything. 

Any scratches, chips, dents, marks, scuffs, plus if anything is brand new or is showing zero signs of damage. Your report should show you exactly how the property is.

Don’t rely on memory - you may not need to do the outgoing inspection for another 2/3/5+ years. Plus your memory alone without proof means nothing to a tribunal judge.

I’ve never seen a condition report that was too detailed.

Photograph everything - especially items that are damaged

As mentioned above - you’ll need to take a lot of photos. Pay particular attention to any items/areas that are damaged in any way, as these will be the points of contention at the outgoing inspection.

Give clear instructions to the tenant

Once you’ve completed your version of the ingoing condition report, you need to give this copy to the tenant for them to complete (usually when you hand over the keys). The tenant completes their version in a similar vein, however, they just need to state whether they agree or disagree with your comments.

They need to complete and return their version to you within 7 days of the lease commencing.

You both need to have an identical copy that you can use at the outgoing inspection, so either the tenant needs to scan the original and send to you, or they need to deliver the original to you and then you make a copy for them.

Give clear instructions to the tenant in writing, so that if in the worst-case scenario you end up in the tenancy tribunal, the tenant cannot use the excuse that they didn’t know how to complete the report.

Wrapping up

Part of my dedication as a property manager is to protect my clients' asset, by which I mean the condition of their investment property. The ingoing condition report is a crucial component for this.

However, because there are so many facets to consider it’s easy to get wrong, which at the very least will make the outgoing inspection stressful, and at the worst, you'll find yourself at the tenancy tribunal holding a poorly executed report that will not help you. 

Follow the above guidelines the next time you need to do a report to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

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