Some Tauranga property managers have made the switch to virtual inspections amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it’s a “straightforward” way to check rentals without bursting tenant’s bubbles.
Terry and Shana Ormsby of Pukeko Rental Managers Tauranga have been inspecting rentals over video call for the past five weeks.
Terry says it’s crucial to be able to check properties for working smoke alarms, leaky sinks and other fundamental things under alert levels 3 and 4.
“It’s really quite straightforward as long as they are savvy on either Zoom or Facebook Messenger.
“Tenants walk us through their property - take us through room by room and it gives us a good indication as to whether they are looking after the property or not. It’s also really important we can see that the smoke alarms are working.”
The property manager has completed about a dozen virtual inspections virtually over the past five weeks and expects to carry out even more at alert level 3.
“The tenants appreciate it - we aren’t coming into their homes. And it’s an insurance requirement too so that's where it wins as well,” Terry says.
The Tenancy Services website states in-person routine inspections of rental properties cannot take place under level 3 unless it is an emergency situation.
Pukeko Rental Managers owner David Pearse says online inspections have been so successful for the New Zealand company, that they will continue to do them after lockdown.
“Something that’s stood out for me during lockdown is how much fun some of our tenants are having with our virtual inspections.
“They walk around with their computer and we direct them to what we want to see like smoke alarms or possible damage.”
But not all property managers in Tauranga have opted to do virtual inspections.
Tauranga Rentals business manager Dan Lusby says they made the call to wait for a move down in alert levels to check properties in-person.
“We haven’t done any inspections unless we have had a tenant move out, and another tenant was due to move in. At level 3, we can’t do inspections unless the property is vacant.”
Dan says they didn’t want to add extra pressure on tenants by doing virtual inspections, in an already stressful time.
“A lot of tenants are under a lot of stress, and it wasn’t fair that we expected them to do our job.”
“We just thought no we are not doing that - will catch up when we are allowed to, and the insurance companies we spoke to were fine with that too.”