What’s happening to my routine inspections during lockdowns?

Posted by Auckland Property Management Ltd on October 21, 2021 | Company News, News, Property Management

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Residential Property Management General Manager Celia Burbery, outlines what’s happening with property inspections during Alert Level 3.

Most landlords are aware that routine inspections are legally off the table during Alert Levels 4 and 3, with some asking if a property manager can carry out ‘virtual’ property inspections during the lockdowns. Yes, virtual inspections can be carried out, but your tenant MUST agree to it and so far, we have noticed that hasn’t been the case. With the current ‘be kind’ approach to pandemic stress levels, we need to re-consider what really needs to be done during the lockdown.

We prefer to be focusing firstly on helping tenants with arrears and today we are proud to advise that in this pandemic environment we are retaining our 1.85% arrears rate across the team, that’s a reflection of the property managers’ skill sets (industry standard has anything under 5% as excellent).  We are also now conducting contactless move in and move outs that have been held up during Alert levels.

The big questions in property management are always around risk, and being unable to conduct in-person inspections has posed questions for the industry about meeting insurance requirements. The Insurance Council of New Zealand’s advice is that pandemic Alert Level related delays to inspections should not jeopardise insurance cover. It advises that any scheduled inspection of a property should take place as soon as it is safe and practicable to do so. That will be in Alert Level 2.

It’s important to remember that the feasibility of a virtual inspection will depend on the tenant’s circumstances – if they are working from home, self-isolating or unwell. If they agree, do they have a suitable device to assist with the video? Are they vaccinated? Is the property manager vaccinated? Are tradespeople who need to visit the property vaccinated? There is a lot to consider.

If you are concerned, we suggest you give your insurance company a call just for peace of mind regarding the inspection requirements during Alert Levels 4 and 3.

In person inspections, being the best kind, will need to be done as soon as we return to Level 2, regardless of if a virtual inspection was attempted. As you can imagine, I have many an anxious Property Manager aware of the backlog of inspections that is going to hit them when we return to Level 2. But, that is one of the many side-effects of living in this current virus climate. We adapt or we get left behind. At APM, we prefer to be ahead of the pack.

Kind regards

Celia Burbery

General Manager – Property Management
Auckland Property Management

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