Rental walk-through inspections are typically done by the landlord at the beginning and end of the lease term. Inspections are essential for both landlords and tenants because they provide a framework for identifying and assigning responsibility for damages to the rental unit during the tenancy. Here’s a brief overview of what should be covered at walk-throughs, and how best to memorialize what transpired during the process.
Move In Inspection
The move-in inspection) occurs shortly after the lease is signed and the property is vacant, cleaned, and ready for move-in day. You may also conduct the move-in inspection on move-in day if that works best for you and your tenant(s).
A move-in inspection allows both parties to document any issues with the rental, such as carpet stains, appliance problems, broken windows, etc. During the inspection the landlord should go room by room to check for damages as well as normal wear and tear. If these problems are properly recorded, the renter will not be responsible for pre-existing conditions.
Be sure to take pictures and/or videos during the move in inspection. Pictures and video will also help the tenant remember the condition of the property when they moved in so they can return it to its original condition before they move out. During the move-out inspection, photos and videos will help the landlord show the tenant damage they have caused that will need to be repaired.
When completing the move-in inspection with your tenant, it is important to track any damage to the property. By providing a rental inspection checklist (a copy for both of you), you can easily make note of any issues you see. Many sites, like Rocket Lawyer, offer free, detailed checklists which you can utilize when conducting the inspection.
If there are issues noted on the checklist that require repair, you should make the repairs in a timely manner. During the move-out inspection, you can both use the checklist to make notes of any damage you see in the property and compare it to the notes in the move-in inspection.
Have the Checklist signed and returned. Each party should keep a copy of the signed checklist for their records.
Move Out Inspection
The move-out inspection should occur when the tenant has vacated the premises and is about to leave. The tenants should be given the option to be present at the time of the move-out inspection. Doing so will avoid any disagreements later when it comes to property damage responsibility.
During the move out inspection the landlord and tenant walk through the rental unit to look for any damage or illegal alterations to the unit. The landlord is concerned with any damage exceeding normal wear and tear or any changes to the unit that have not been mutually agreed upon, such as changing the paint color. Using the move-in inspection checklist, the landlord can compare the current condition of the property to the condition of the property when the tenant moved into the unit.
If this inspection is conducted before a tenant’s move, the landlord can present the tenant with a list of the deductions that will be taken from their security deposit. Conducting an inspection before a tenant’s has left also gives the tenant the opportunity to fix the damages so that deductions are not taken from their security deposit.
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