When you are living in a rental home, especially if you have been there for a while, its possible there has been some damage to the property that’s a little more than regular wear and tear.
It can cause stress when you are preparing to move, especially if you are moving into your own home and are counting on that bond return to provide a nice buffer after all those new home costs.
If you are moving to another rental home then getting your bond return is even more important as it can influence your approval of future rentals if you fail.
Throughout your rental stay you will be asked to do inspections on a regular basis. Embrace these as a chance to show off. Either prove that you are an outstanding tenant (doing this regularly will make a difference in the long run) and also show off anything that isn’t right; paint peeling off the walls, carpet lifting or wearing thin, lights that keep blowing no matter what bulbs you use to replace them, leaking pipes, clogged drains, that broken dishwasher.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to fix these problems as they appear, and your landlord gets a nice tax break for repairs too, so speak up and point out flaws as soon as possible.
Never attempt to repair or adjust any plumbing, gas or electrical issues. It is the responsibility of the landlord to repair and maintain utilities. As soon as you notice utility issues report it and fill out a repair form with your agent to get it fixed ASAP.
If you have caused damage to property, speak up about it. Being honest will get you a long way. There are times, however, when damage is minimal and easy to fix. In these cases you can usually make some repairs and have the place looking better than new before you move out.
Put an unauthorised nail in the wall or found out your wall friendly command strips took a large chunk of paint off when you packed up? Paint repair is one of the biggest issues for bond return.
Matching paint is an easy and stress-free process that makes touching up damaged walls and doors a breeze. You can easily fix up paint issues yourself for very little cost, just give yourself a few days before your move to do the work and have it looking seamless.
Simply take a large sample size of original paint to your paint supply store and they will identify the colour and reproduce it for you. Taking a small sample (less than a 50 cent coin) won’t be enough to do the colour test.
There may be a minimum paint buy to this so just check, before you commit to a 20 litre tin that you will never be able to use, although more paint does give you the option of repainting the entire wall, which may be easier than trying to cover a small patch.
If you do go for just a small section, make sure you sandpaper the edges of the paint chip as well as the wall you will be painting to help the paint stick and give you a smooth finish. If your paint is not looking like an exact match to start with, don’t panic. Allow time for it to dry and make sure you apply two coats, it can really make a difference.
Be sure that you match the right gloss, low sheen or flat paint as well as the colour, getting this wrong will really stand out. Most wall and ceilings are painted with flat paint or low sheen.
If you have a hollow door, Gyprock wall or ceiling that has a hole in it, it can be easily repaired with a wall repair patch, or better yet a wall repair kit. For as little as $15 you can get everything you need to cover the hole with a self-adhesive mesh, filler and sandpaper. You can buy individual adhesive wall repair patches in a range of sizes for very low cost. You will need to apply a number of filler layers and sand in between to get a smooth finish. Once completely dry you can match the existing paint to finish the job.
Minor scratches to timber are easy to fix with a rubbing of walnut oil. It usually matches to most wood colours although it does favour darker woods.
For anything more serious it is best to hire a professional who can usually have the job done in under an hour, especially if you are willing and able to apply a coat or two of strainer after they go.
Usually the last thing you do when you vacate is get the carpets cleaned. It will be difficult to tell before this point which stains won’t budge. Wine, coffee, ink and chewing gum can all be difficult to lift out. Before you get to work with stain removers make sure the carpet you have can handle it, you may just end up making the situation worse with bleach products.
Some carpet cleaning companies come with a stain removal guarantee, or you can pay a bit extra for stubborn stain removal as part of the service, which can mean peace of mind for a few extra dollars.
Still have a stain? Before you panic check with your landlord or rental agent, in some cases if they can see you have tried your hardest (and you have been that model tenant mentioned earlier), they may overlook it as wear and tear so don’t lose too much sleep over this one if you have given it a solid go.
Even if you are advised that there are issues that need fixing, it is best to pay for these upfront (you can usually just give the money to your rental agent) so your bond is returned and you remain in good rental standing.