What are the chances? A renter’s guide to surviving property inspections in COVID-19

Reluctant to open your front door during Covid? The concern is real for everyone, but it may be greater for tenants facing routine inspections of their rental property.

Without a doubt, times have changed, and real estate agents have adapted to new scenarios and had to rethink their systems – a challenge for any industry that thrives on face-to-face interaction to build relationships.

But as we’ve all come to learn, life and work must go on – and despite the mounting uncertainties, the importance of providing effective and efficient services remains the same. And in property management, this includes the need to check the ongoing condition of a rental property.

If you’re a tenant, you’ll already know that under the current NSW Residential Tenancies Act you must permit your landlord (or agent) to enter your rental property with prior notice, for the purpose of inspecting it. This typically occurs within the first 12 weeks of you having moved in, and then every 3 to 6 months following depending on the landlord’s instructions.

But you may also be concerned about the consequences of letting an unknown person enter your home in the midst of a pandemic to conduct a routine inspection. An entirely reasonable fear, particularly for tenants who are in vulnerable situations or with compromised immunity and health.

We understand the concern, so we’ve put in place the below measures to make routine inspections as safe and controlled as possible at Prudential – and to provide reassurance for tenants who are apprehensive about a routine inspection.

Limiting property inspections to only one agent.

Periodic inspections are very fast and are only conducted in properties where the tenant is not ill, isolating or awaiting a Covid test outcome, nor have they been in contact with a domestic or overseas traveller or someone who has tested positive. If this has all been confirmed, only one agent is needed to conduct the inspection – and the whole inspection can take as little as 5-10 minutes in most cases.

Taking all necessary safety and hygiene precautions.

Our staff take health and hygiene precautions seriously, and this includes wearing gloves and masks at inspections, as well as washing hands, using sanitiser and social distancing whenever necessary. For landlords who wish to also be present at the inspection, we keep numbers at a minimum and they are also required to wear a mask.

Minimising contact with surfaces.

If you’re a tenant wanting to be present at the inspection, you may do so as long as you don’t have Covid symptoms or fall into any category listed above. You will be asked to open doors so that you reduce the need for the agent to touch anything. Should you not be present at the inspection, we ask that you open each room and turn the lights on prior to the agent arriving, for a quicker and safer inspection.

Accommodating inspections via alternative methods for vulnerable tenants. 

If you have reason for an agent to conduct another means of assessing your property such as through a virtual inspection, we may be able to accommodate some circumstances; but in every case you must discuss this with your agent or landlord prior to the inspection date. 

While Covid has caused a number of challenges for property management that can lead to panic and concern for tenants, it’s important to weigh up the risk of having one property manager enter your home – one that’s relatively low in comparison to entering a public place or shopping at a supermarket. 

We make every effort to reduce this risk by leveraging available technologies and resources at Prudential Real Estate, while still fulfilling our obligation to manage the property for our landlords.

After more info?

Get in touch with your local Prudential Real Estate office below:

Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 | campbelltown@prudential.com.au

Prudential Real Estate Liverpool | (02) 9822 5999 | liverpool@prudential.com.au

Prudential Real Estate Macquarie Fields |  (02) 9605 5333 | macquariefields@prudential.com.au

Prudential Real Estate Narellan | (02) 4624 4400 | narellan@prudential.com.au