When it comes time to find a new apartment, a rental inspection checklist is key. After all, there’s more to moving into a new apartment than just grabbing the keys from your landlord. Completing a property inspection protects both landlords and tenants.
So it also goes a long way to prevent the deal from going sideways.
All in all, a good rental inspection checklist ensures that you, as the tenant, are held responsible for any damages to the property during your stay.
It also documents pre-existing damages and ensures you can’t later be held liable for those.
To conduct a good rental inspection, you’ll need help. Here’s a simple guide for a standard rental inspection checklist that you can use to find a new home this year.
The importance of a rental inspection checklist is that it forces both tenants and landlords to walk through the property. While nobody typically thinks about dents in floorboards or flaking paint in corners, a rental inspection checklist does.
That’s the whole point!
Good checklists take note of things like carpet condition, damage to windows, odors, and other things that can cause expenses.
As a general rule, landlords and tenants should perform a rental inspection together. This ensures that both people are on the same page and that any damage can be documented by both parties.
If this is impossible, a tenant will need to perform a rental inspection alone.
Generally, you’ll do this by obtaining a copy of the rental inspection checklist and walking through the property. You’ll need to note the condition of each element in accordance with the checklist.
If there’s damage that is not listed on the checklist:
Note it. Take a picture and make sure it’s dated.
The landlord may also complete a separate checklist before you move in. Your checklists should note the same things and will remove you from liability for any pre-existing damages.
If you’re walking through a rental inspection checklist with a landlord, the process will vary slightly. The landlord will move through the checklist and point out anything that was damaged before you moved in, or anything that you need to be aware of.
Here’s an example of what a standard rental inspection checklist will cover:
Generally, there are only two times you should go through a rental inspection checklist. These are as follows:
The obvious time to complete a rental inspection checklist is when you move in. You don’t want to be held responsible for any damage that the last tenant caused.
Therefore most landlords and property managers use a move-in checklist that is designed to document existing issues.
So once the landlord and tenant agree on the state of the property, the landlord will have the tenant sign and date the agreement. This kicks off the rental period and ensures there are no surprises where the property is concerned.
To bookend the move-in rental inspection, there is typically a move-out rental inspection checklist. The process for this checklist is roughly the same – a renter and landlord will walk together through a property, taking note of issues that may cause the renter to incur an expense when moving out.
If there are damages that exist now, that did not exist when you moved in, you and the landlord will need to decide how best to handle them.
In some cases, this may mean forfeiting a portion of your deposit.
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