9 minor mistakes that cause tenants to lose bond money!
It’s a known fact, when looking to rent a property you need to consider more than just your weekly rent payments.
In NSW you are required to come up with four weeks rent in advanced prior to receiving your keys and moving in and with the average rental price in Sydney ranging between $400-$900 for a 2 bedroom unit, the sum could be a struggle to obtain.
It is then no wonder that upon vacating you hope to receive every dollar paid. However, the latest Bond Board annual report shows that “In 2015/16 one in 10 tenants did not receive any of their bond back, while 35 per cent only received some of their bond back”.
Surprisingly, most of the tenants who lose out on their bond money do so due to small issues that go unnoticed rather than major damage.
“It is important that you take time to ensure that all areas of the property is cleaned prior to returning the keys to the premises as the landlord / agent is not required to allow you to re-attend to clean items that has been missed. Sometimes it is easier or more cost effective to have the property professionally cleaned and if you take up this option it is important to ask if the agent has a preferred cleaner. This is because they usually offer a guaranteed service where the agent is happy to have them re-attend should any items be missed.” Better Buildings Realty Senior Asset Manager, Anthony Nesci Said.
Understanding your obligations under the tenancy agreement and the bond claim process are critical, but for those who do decide to clean themselves, rental experts said tenants should pay particular attention to several key areas.
1) Forgotten fans and filters
At the top of the list were fans, filters and unseen parts of the property that can get particularly dirty during a 12-month tenancy.
In particular, “exhaust fans are a common case of out-of-sight and out-of-mind,” Terri Scheer Insurance executive manager Carolyn Parrella said.
“From our experience, tenants sometimes overlook the cleanliness of their exhaust fans which are prone to attracting lint and dust in bathrooms and oil and grease in kitchens,” she said.
2) Dirty glass panels including windows, door and shower panels.
“Glass panels including windows, door and shower panels are often forgotten about when a tenant is vacating. Especially the external glass door panels, which is more prone to accumulating dirt due to being exposed to the environment,” said, Better Buildings Realty’s Junior Asset Manager, Christian Sipione.
“It is important that tenants remember to clean glass surfaces with water and other products to remove all the dirt, stain and soap scum prior to leaving the property,” he added.
3) Oven and dishwasher cleaning
“It might seem counter-intuitive, but dishwashers frequently need cleaning”, Rachael Byrne senior property manager of Queensland-based Jean Brown Properties said.
“For the dishwasher running a cleaner through, pulling the filters out and also cleaning the internal trims [is necessary],” Ms Byrne said.
“Property managers will also look inside the oven when inspecting a property”, Ms Parrella said.
“A landlord or property manager is within their rights to open and inspect the oven, so they should be clean and free from food splatters, overflow or built up grease and oil,” she said.
“The range top should also be clean for the next tenant,” Just Think Real Estate principal Edwin Almeida said.
“A lot of people don’t realise gas stove top burners come apart and disassemble for cleaning.”
4) Pet-related dirt
“Those with pets in their rental property should also take special care to clean up after them”, Ms Parrella said.
“Buy a good quality vacuum … while a landlord or property manager might allow pets at the property, it is generally on the basis the property remains free from pet fur and mess,” she said.
In particular, dirt can accrue “in door tracks and on skirting boards” that can quickly be cleaned by a tenant, Mr Almeida said.
Damage outside from pets should also be attended to
5) Light globe replacement
Cathy Mastronardo is an Asset manager at Better Buildings Realty and in her experience, she has found that “some tenants are not aware that all light globes are required to be replaced with new globes and are to be in working order prior to vacating the premises”, She said.
This is beneficial and much more cost effective for the tenant as in the event the tenants fail to replace the light globes themselves, the agent will be required to hire a trade person.
6) Mould issues
Another issue that should be tackled sooner rather than later is any sign of mould in a rental property.
Ms Sanderson warned this could be a result of failing to ventilate a home properly during the tenancy, so should be attended to well before moving day. This is particularly a problem in the bathroom, where tenants should “leave the window open a couple of inches,” she said.
Ms Parrella also encouraged tenants to thoroughly scrub shower screens, grout in bathrooms and other wet areas to remove bacteria.
7) Incomplete gardening and outdoor maintenance
“Tenants in houses with the benefit of a yard may have some work ahead of them to get their property in tip-top condition to vacate,” Ms Byrne said.
In the case where a tenant has a pool but pool maintenance is not included in their lease, they must ensure that the filters and cell are properly cleaned.
Ms Parrella also said it was important to maintain the garden as best possible, despite wilted plants being part and parcel of a hot Australian summer.
“Some leases make the tenant responsible for maintaining the backyard while others may have a gardener included in the lease. Make sure you know where you stand,” she said
8) Steam cleaning the carpets
“Steam cleaning of carpets is not compulsory however, if the carpets were steam cleaned at the beginning of the tenancy then it would be ideal for the tenants to return the property as they received it,” Ms Mastronardo said.
“If during the vacate inspection the carpet appears dirty and the agent believes that it requires steam cleaning then this cost can be forwarded onto the tenant and in some cases deducted out of their bond. Therefore it is highly recommended that the tenant has the carpets steam cleaned prior to vacating to avoid losing out on their bond money,” She added.
9) Damage and marks on walls and doors
The final issue most tenants will find themselves needing to attend to is any dirt or damage to walls and doors that wouldn’t be considered wear and tear.
“Spot cleaning around lights switches, on door handles and internal doors would make a big difference at inspection time,” Ms Byrne said. Cleaning blinds and skirting boards were also high on the list of issues for departing tenants.
“I would also advise all tenants to take a full set of entry photos when completing the entry condition report and keep them in their own files … you should be taking the same amount of care and time completing the exit condition report as you did completing the entry condition report,” she said.
Some information contained in this article was found on Domain.com.au