Tenant Move In / Move Out Inspection Process
As a rule, move in and move out inspection procedures are not very complicated. Many times the move in inspection procedures will deal with a checklist. The first item on the checklist is usually determining how the overall condition of the rental is at move in. The Landlord or Property Manager will note any damage to the rental as well as anything missing or that needs fixing. This area is important for the Tenant because it will save the Tenant from being responsible for anything that is not his or her fault. The move in inspection also includes pictures of the damage at move in, if applicable, as well as taking a video record of the premises. When the Landlord or Property Manager is documenting all of this information, it is also up to the Tenant to work closely to note anything that the Tenant finds as well. The Tenant might notice a problem that the Landlord or Property Manager does not. This information is to be documented in the move in report as well. Overall, the move in inspection is looking for damage and noting the overall condition of the rental property. Now remember, if you go overboard or write down things that are excessive in your Move-in Walk thru statement, be ready for you not to be taken seriously…by both Landlords and the Courts.
The move out inspection procedure is similar to the move in inspection procedure. In the move out inspection procedure, the Landlord or Property Manager will document any damages that were not there prior to move in and the Tenant will be responsible for these damages. Pictures and video record will be taken during the move out procedure as well documenting any newfound damages. The Landlord will then get bids on repairing any damage caused by the Tenant other that normal wear and tear.
There are always going to be questions on what is “normal wear and tear” and this usually come into question with the condition of the walls, floors (or more appropriately paint and carpet) cleanliness and condition of the landscape upon move-out. Normal wear and tear is the physical deterioration that occurs with normal use. Typically, state law defines normal wear and tear, and normally, this definition excludes negligence, carelessness, accident with, or abuse of the premises, fixtures, and chattel property by the occupants or their guests. Normal wear and tear is deterioration or depreciation in value by ordinary and reasonable use. Receipts must be provided to the tenant if money is taken out of the security deposit due to damages that come from the contractor or maintenance worker that repaired the damage.
There are a few last items that you, the Tenant, should do to protect yourself and make sure you get the most money refunded from your security deposit:
- Have the home and the carpets professionally cleaned once all your personal possessions are out, show the Landlord and/or Management Company the receipts
- Change out all burnt out light bulbs
- Make sure smoke detectors have fresh batteries
- Change the air filters
- Remove all weeds from the yard
- Lawns must be neatly mowed and edged, trees and shrubs trimmed or pruned, yard watered and all trash and debris removed if you, the Tenant, is responsible for the care of the landscaping
- Any (Pet) droppings are to be picked up and disposed of
- Schedule the utilities to be shut off on the last day of the lease”
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.
Shelter Realty uses a web based program to perform all move in, move outs and quarterly inspections. The field agents utilize an app via their iPad to document the condition of the property and allows them to include an unlimited amount of photos. The app takes the field agent through each room asking questions about the condition of every item in the room and then prompts the field agent to take photos of that particular item and room. The documented information is quite detailed. Being this is a web based program, there is never a concern of losing this valuable information should a question ever arise.
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