Move-In / Move-Out Inspection Process
Move-in and move-out procedures are two of the most important aspects of property management. Having a detailed move-in report to compare to the move-out is important in determining any possible tenant charges upon vacating. During the move-in inspection process, the Property Manager will detail the existing condition of the home. This step is important not only for the Landlord, but also for the Tenant because it will save the Tenant from being responsible for anything that is not their fault. The move-in inspection also includes many pictures of the home’s condition, as well as taking a brief video of the overview of the premises. Although the Property Manager takes a detailed account of the property’s condition, the Tenant also has a chance to document any additional items they may notice the first week or so after occupying the home. The Tenant might notice a problem that the Property Manager did not. This information is documented in the move-in report as well.
Overall, the move-in inspection is looking for existing damage and noting the overall condition of the rental property.
The move-out inspection procedure is similar to the move-in inspection procedure. During the move-out inspection procedure, the Property Manager will document the overall condition of the home, as well as specific damages. Upon comparing the move-in report to the move-out report, if there are damages that did not exist at move-in, the Tenant will be charged to repair the damages. The Tenant is not responsible for normal wear and tear.
Detailed pictures as well as a brief video overview will be taken during the move-out procedure. Upon reviewing the move-out inspection report, pictures, and video, the Property Manager will then request several estimates for any repairs or replacements that may be necessary, and ultimately charge the Tenant for any applicable repairs. Invoices from a licensed company must be provided to the Tenant if any money is deducted from the security deposit due to damages.
One of the biggest grey areas of Property Management is what is “normal wear and tear”. This usually comes into question in regards to the condition of the walls, floors, cleanliness, and condition of the landscape upon move-out. Normal wear and tear is the physical deterioration that occurs with normal use. Normal use can vary depending on length of time in the home, the condition of the premises upon move-in, etc. For example, a Tenant that has occupied a newer home for one year that had brand new carpet and semi-gloss paint throughout will have less normal wear and tear than a tenant that has lived in an older home for five years that had original carpet and flat paint. Property Managers are responsible for determining what normal wear and tear is for that specific tenancy.
There are a few last items that the Tenant should do to protect themself to make sure they get the most money refunded from their security deposit. This list is not all-inclusive, but it is a good starting point:
- Have the home and the carpets professionally cleaned once all your personal possessions are out and show the Landlord and/or Property Management Company the receipts.
- Remove the nails and screws from the walls and have the holes professionally patched.
- Change out all burnt out light bulbs.
- Make sure smoke detectors have fresh batteries.
- Change the air filters.
- Remove all weeds, trash, and pet feces from the yard, mow the lawn (if applicable), and ensure all trees and bushes are trimmed.
- Don’t turn the utilities off until the last day of your lease.
- Review your move-in report as a reminder of the move-in condition.
Shelter Realty uses a web based program to perform all move-in and move-out inspections. The field agents utilize an app via their iPad or iPhone to document the condition of the property and attach 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 very detailed. Since this is a web based program, there is never a concern of losing this valuable information, should a question ever arise.