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REIQ Journal : October 2008
42 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT A notification that you will leave a business card as a courtesy to advise them that you’ve accessed the property to carry the inspection out on behalf of the lessor; and A request to restrain dogs on the day of the inspection to allow for ease of entry. When setting up a new tenant in your software program, it is common practice to enter a date to flag an upcoming inspection. Most property managers print out a report around six weeks prior to the inspection’s due date to allow for effective planning of how and when to schedule inspections for the coming month. For a number of reasons, some property managers also invite the lessor to attend the inspection if they are available. This allows agents to demonstrate a professional service and to inform the client firsthand of any maintenance due on their property. Another valuable reason to invite the lessor, is due to the time of entry restraints for carrying out routine inspections under the Residential Tenancies Act. The legislation only allows a routine inspection to be carried out once every three months, unless the tenant agrees otherwise. Preparing the required documentation Property managers are required to complete an entry notice (RTA Form 9) for every inspection and the tenant must be given seven clear days notice prior to entry. As a sign of professional courtesy, many agents give the tenant around 14 days notice. If posting the forms, make sure you account for the postage timeframes for your area. It is best practice for a cover letter to be included with the entry notice to explain that the routine inspection is being carried out, and provide information that the agent wants the tenant to know and understand. This might include: An invitation to the tenant to attend the inspection at the time stated on the notice, along with an explanation that their presence is not necessary; An explanation that you will gain access using keys from the office; It is recommended that you also include some blank maintenance request forms and encourage the tenant to report any concerns or maintenance requests in writing. They can either give the forms to you when they meet you at the inspection, or leave them for you in a conspicuous position if you enter the property when they are not present. Conducting the inspection How long should an inspection take? This is a question that can not be easily answered. It takes as long as it takes to carry out a thorough visual inspection of all parts of the property. Property managers are strongly advised not to physically check or test any appliance while conducting a routine inspection. Refer to term 7.7 of the REIQ Schedule and terms and conditions for the PAMD Form 20a, which states in part that “the agent is not a licensed engineer, architect, builder or any other type of professional or tradesperson...” If property managers check or test anything while carrying out routine inspections, they may be presenting themselves as holding some qualification other than that of a real estate agent. This could expose an agent in a litigation claim. Many property managers take photos for their lessor client as part of the inspection. Always be mindful of the tenant’s right to reasonable peace, comfort and privacy under Section 101 of the Residential Tenancies Act and seek permission from REIQ Journal October 2008