Your Get-Started Guide to Navigating Property Inspections

Property inspections are the best way to understand the condition of your rental property. Such walk-throughs are one of the crucial tasks you do as a landlord.

Do you know the kinds of inspections you should perform on your properties? How often should you inspect? 

Inspections help you keep up with property maintenance. They also help you document the condition of a property when a tenant moves in, and when they move out. 

If you're new to being a landlord, or if regular inspections haven't been a part of your landlord routine, we're here with a quick guide to help you get started!

Home inspection report with keys and a pen.

The Move-In Inspection

After you've prepped the property for a new tenant, be sure to schedule time with your tenant for a walk-through of the property. This is called the "Move-In Inspection."

It's exactly what it sounds like: walk the property—inside and out—and document the condition of the property before your new tenant starts living there. 

Doing this with the new tenant is critical! Together, you and the new tenant examine the property and agree on the condition. Document everything: from how the appliances work, to the state of the walls and floors. 

You'll use this vital Move-In Inspection documentation to compare to the condition of the home when your tenant moves out. 

Check and make notes about:

  • The working condition of appliances
  • The physical condition of freshly painted walls and ceilings
  • Any new features in the home, like a new ceiling fan or a security system
  • The exterior of the property, landscaping, the lawn, and the deck or patio
  • Make sure your tenant understands how to use everything in the home

Note the date and time of the inspection. Get a signature from your tenant to confirm that the inspection took place, and they agree with the documented condition of everything in the home. 

File the Move-In Inspection for reference as any damage or maintenance issues come up while the tenant lives in the property.

The Move-Out Inspection

When it's time for a tenant to leave your property, be sure you schedule a Move-Out Inspection before they hand over the keys. Much like the Move-In Inspection, you'll want to do the Move-Out walk-through with the tenant. 

Bring your Move-In Inspection list, and check all of the same items you examined during the initial inspection. Compare the condition of each item now versus when the tenants moved into the property. 

When noting the condition of the home at move-out, it's critical to determine the difference between "normal wear-and-tear" versus tenant damage. The return of a full security deposit to your tenant depends on the amount of damage present after they've lived in the home.

Builder And Inspector Looking At New Property

Wear-and-Tear

When it comes to routine wear-and-tear, your tenants are not responsible for fixing or paying for repairs. Wear-and-tear includes things like:

  • Faded wallpaper
  • Small carpet stains from everyday use
  • Nail holes in walls
  • Light bulbs that don't work
  • Appliances that don't work as a result of age and regular use

Make a note of these issues. They'll need to be part of your Make-Ready checklist to prepare the home for your next tenants. 

Normal wear-and-tear is part of life in any home: you can't deduct wear-and-tear repair or cleaning expenses from a tenant's security deposit.

Damage

Damage caused by tenants is another story! When working through the Move-Out Inspection with your tenant, make a note of any damage beyond normal use.

Tenant damage can include:

  • Large holes in walls
  • Holes or large stains in the carpet
  • Appliances that don't work due to misuse or physical damage
  • Broken or cracked windows or broken window blinds
  • Damaged landscaping
  • Pet damage
  • Evidence that bathrooms haven't been cleaned, such as excessive mold or mildew

Make sure your tenant is aware that these issues are more than wear-and-tear. Document everything on the Move-Out Inspection form, and get a signature from your tenant to confirm they were present. 

Depending on the cost of repairs or deep cleaning, you can withhold some or all of the security deposit. Be sure you're clear about what kind of damage can legally support withholding money from a security deposit. 

Use a Property Manager to Handle Inspections

If inspections sound time-consuming and sensitive when it comes to your tenant-landlord relationship, consult with a property manager. It can be tricky to come to an agreement with tenants about the condition of a property when it's time for them to move out. 

All County Heritage Property Management is well-versed in both Move-In and Move-Out Inspections. Why put pressure on yourself assessing damage versus wear-and-tear during a Move-Out Inspection when All County can do it for you? We can also help you avoid sticky situations with tenants when it comes to withholding a security deposit for repairs. 

Start with a FREE Quote and let All County Heritage keep your property in excellent condition before, after, and during occupancy!

Contact Us