Whenever you start a tenancy you will have to sign off on a condition report. The report describes the condition of the place you are renting at the start of the tenancy and it will be used again at the end of the tenancy to check if the property has been left in the same condition as it was at the beginning.

Initially, within 3 days of the start of the tenancy, the landlord or agent will complete the report and then give you, the tenant, one copy. You need to indicate on the report if you agree or don't agree with their description of the house and its contents. If you don't agree then you need to mention this on the condition report and give a reason. You can attach a separate page to the report if you need to.

You must return the completed condition report to the agent/landlord within 5 business days of moving in. If the landlord returns the condition report with any changes initialed within 5 business days, the report is taken to be accepted. It is also taken to be accepted if the condition report is not returned.

You should keep a copy of the condition report until the end of the tenancy when you and the landlord/agent will make a final inspection of the place. You will need to compare the final inspection with the inspection made at the start of the tenancy, and if there are any differences you may have to do more cleaning or pay for cleaning and repairs that can be taken from your bond money.

Things to include on the condition report are:

  • any promises that the landlord or agent makes about a repair or to have the place painted;
  • the water meter reading, particularly if the lease asks you, the tenant, to pay for excess water usage.

Nick’s condition report – a case study

When Nick moved into his new unit, he was given a condition report to fill in and give back to the real estate agent. Nick was really busy moving in and had forgotten about it. He rushed through the checklist without looking at everything in the unit before giving it back to the real estate agent. After some time Nick noticed that the bathroom tiles were broken, the carpet had stains on it and the kitchen cupboard doors were falling off the hinges.

When Nick moved out, the real estate agent refused to give Nick his bond money back. The agent explained that the bond money would be used for the repair work on the cupboard doors, replacement of the bathroom tiles and cleaning costs for the carpet.

Nick argued that those things were already like that when he moved in. The agent told him that there had been nothing written on the condition report about these problems.