Prior to occupancy, the property manager and new tenant should mutually inspect the premises, checking for wear and tear and any defects, damages or malfunctioning utilities, plumbing or electrical problems, etc., that may have been overlooked by the landlord or property manager during the move out inspection of the property after the previous tenant had vacated.
The inspection results will be documented in detail by the property manager, with copies submitted to landlord and tenant. This report can either be hand written or electronically documented. This inspection report will assure the tenant will not be held responsible for any damages to the premises that occurred prior to his/her move in.
The property manager or the new renter may additionally take photos or make a video record of the premises. Copies of all photos, documentation, etc. should be distributed to landlord, property manager and the new tenant, and signed off as received by each party.
Any and all malfunctioning appliances, defects and/or damages that would affect the comfortable occupancy of the new tenant should be repaired or replaced in a timely manner, and the premises left in a clean and welcoming condition for the new occupant.
The property manager’s tenant move-out inspection must be as thorough and detailed as move-in inspection procedures. The tenant should have been made aware at the time of move-in that the leasing agreement has provisions to deal with any damages caused to the premises by the tenant since his/her occupancy.
The tenant should also have been made aware upon move-in that the required up-front security deposit prior to move-in was designated as funds to pay for any repairs made to the property that were caused by tenant damage or neglect.
If the premises passes the move-out inspection with no discernible damages, then the security deposit should be fully refundable.
Any tenant damage costs exceeding security deposit funds would have to be paid by the former tenant, if not willingly, then by lawsuit.
Allowances, however, are made for normal wear and tear, and dependent upon the length of time the tenant had occupied the property. However, so-called “normal wear and tear” can often be a point of contention between landlord and tenant.
For example, did the “wear and tear” occur due to deterioration from age or malfunction due to age or an inherent defect? However, “wear and tear” clearly due to abuse, neglect, carelessness or accident will certainly be charged to the tenant, regardless of whether the fault lies with the tenant, any other member of the household, or guest.
If the landlord designates the property manager to conduct move-in walk-throughs with new tenants as well as move-out inspections, the manager, as the landlord’s designated representative, must be meticulous in his inspections and documentary procedures in order to protect the best interests of his client.