The Property Practitioners Act has introduced significant legislation that seeks to transform the real estate industry by placing the interests of consumers front and centre. One regulation, that has received quite a bit of attention, stipulates that a property practitioner may not accept a sales or rental agreement prior to receiving a completed and signed defects disclosure form from a property owner or landlord.
While home inspections are not compulsory, Chapter 10 of the Property Practitioners Act (titled ‘Consumer Protection’) recommends that consumers, for their own account, undertake an ‘independent inspection’ to confirm the state of a property before finalising a sales or rental agreement, a standard practice which most advanced countries have adopted, says John Graham, Executive Chairman of national inspection company HouseCheck.
However, a completed and signed defects disclosure form is limited to what a property owner or landlord may be aware of. What could be considered as a straightforward procedure by means of ticking off a checklist, if not thoroughly executed, could unravel serious ramifications, especially in the form of latent defects – ‘under-the-surface’ issues that are not easily detectable, such as structural cracks, damp, or wear-and-tear on a roof’s covering”.
“Under the new legislation, property practitioners have an equal duty of care to all parties involved. If they have any doubt about possible defects that may not be disclosed by a seller or landlord, it would be within their best interest to advise that an independent inspection be done”, says John.
“In light of sales or rental agents wanting to protect their reputations and to avoid litigation, we are noticing that the advocation for independent inspections is on the rise”.
The next obvious step for property practitioners, wanting to outsource an independent inspection, would be to invest in a simple, efficient inspection medium that reduces the risk of human error and provides full transparency, like award-winning inspection software, Property Inspect.
The PropTech company boasts two new software products, born out of Covid-19: their self-service offering, where an inspection can be performed by someone other than the property practitioner and their live offering, where an inspection can be performed in real time under remote supervision.
David Hutchison, Sales Director for Property Inspect, says that there are three components that generally de-risk a property transaction when it comes to inspections: audit trails, email history, and physical documentation or reports.
“PropTech, like Property Inspect, seamlessly creates audit trails on a property so that if there are any uncertainties or disputes, and you urgently need to access archived information, everything sits under one profile for that property – from the inspection report, the email history of when the report was sent to the property owner or landlord and when it was shared with the buyer or tenant”.
“With our self-service inspection software, someone other than the sales or rental agent, can perform the inspection, such as the property owner or landlord. Instead of property practitioners emailing their clients the inspection form, waiting for them to complete it and to return it, while running the risk of missing important information, the property owner or landlord will receive a one-time login via their smart phones with instructions on how to complete the inspection”, he says, “where our live inspection software is similar to chatting via Zoom or WhatsApp. In real time, you can remotely supervise an inspection, while compiling the report from the comfort of your office. Any footage recorded or photos taken during the inspection will be automatically available under the property’s audit trail in our app”.
This technology is also being used by specialist inspection companies outsourced by sales and rental agents as a business-critical platform with the option to log in and to pull inspection reports as needed, allowing for seamless communication, booking of jobs, reviewing, and assessing of reports available under one client’s profile.
“Outsourcing, using PropTech, is where I believe the inspection industry is going. It boils down to simplifying the inspection process while saving time and potential money. PropTech will become an integral part of every business system”, says David.
“Pure transparency and de-risking, everything that the Property Practitioners Act is trying to achieve, is facilitated and supported by software like ours, which can address the potential within your business”, he concludes.
For more on the Property Practitioners Act within the inspection industry and how PropTech can aid and ensure compliance, join Property Inspect and their panel of industry experts for a free 1-hour roundtable webinar on Thursday, the 3rd of March 2022.
Property Inspect have added a ‘Property Defect Report’ to their standard list of inspection types and templates, perfect for rental and sales agents. Start your free trial here.