How To Conduct a Tenant Walk-through Inspection

Being a landlord means ensuring your rental property maintains its outstanding condition. To achieve this goal, conducting a walk-through inspection is a must. Landlords who perform routine walk-throughs inspire tenants to carry out their share in maintenance tasks of the rental property.

Oftentimes, rental units experience less damage when there’s a regular walk-through inspection in place, making this a worthwhile procedure to adopt. What’s more, walk-throughs are shown to be advantageous for both the landlord and the tenants.

Here are steps you can apply when doing a proper walkthrough:

Create a Form

The form must contain a list of all the property’s rooms and living/ communal areas to make it easy to jot down notes. Several templates of walk-through forms can be accessed online or you can craft one on your own to ensure that it meets your property’s specific needs.

List each room and divide it into different sections with the following components: door, window, floor, walls, appliances, and furniture. It’s advisable to be detailed when writing down the move-in and move-out conditions of the rental property.

You should also include an estimate of the cleaning fees and repair charges for each damaged item. When all this is done, provide a space for you and the renter to sign. After the walk-through, sign the form, include the date, and give a copy to the renter for reference.

a tenant and landlord inspecting a kitchen during an initial property inspection

Visit the Property Together

Before the tenant moves into the property, agree on a specific time to do the walk-through inspection together. This is vital to ensure that you’re both aware of the condition of the property before the renter moved in.

While doing the walk-through inspection, you can communicate to the renter the level of cleanliness expected. You can also provide them with examples of damages that result from normal wear and tear and those that occur outside of it to reduce potential conflicts.

All new tenants must participate in a walk-through inspection but they don’t have to attend the walk-through inspection after the tenancy ends since repairs and end-of-tenancy cleaning are already completed at that stage.

Create a Simple Process

Keeping things simple to prevent renters from having second thoughts. If you make the procedure too complicated, it can become overwhelming for them. You want the renter to avoid experiencing anxiety or pressure to keep the rental space exactly as it’s presented.

It’s important to note that no perfect properties exist and tiny scratches here and there are understandable. Opt for a practical walkthrough that finishes around 20 minutes.

landlord in a black suit taking photos of a property prior to a move-in

Use Images and Videos When Documenting

Having a camera or smartphone helps in your documentation. Start with a general picture of the entire room. Then take close-up shots of pre-existing damages. It’s best if you have a date stamping feature to help reference the date and time the picture was taken. Organize the photos and label them. Don’t forget to store digital backups of everything.

Photos can be your proof during security deposit disputes or damage claims. Without them, it can lead to disputes about whether certain damages are new or had existed before the renter moved in.

Do a DIY Property Inspection Before the Tenants’ Arrival

Since walk-through inspections help to identify pre-existing property damage and assign the repair costs to the right party, they shouldn’t be done superficially.

Be detailed when evaluating your property. You can even do prior testing to see if any potential issues come up before a tenant resides in the unit and report a complaint. Doing this extra step cultivates a better landlord-renter relationship.

Switch on all appliances to make sure that all are in excellent working order. Assess the water pressure by flushing the toilets. Test critical home systems, such as the air conditioning and heating units.

Be meticulous when inspecting if the doors and windows close properly. You want to avoid disappointing a new resident. Finally, work on establishing trust and creating a good impression that you take care of your rental property.

person wearing an apron while stirring a pot on the stove

Set a Grace Period for the Renter to Check Issues

Designating a period to allow tenants to discover any issues is reasonable. Three days is a good timeframe. Some problems can only be known when a renter occupies the unit.

The upside is you’ll know what damage to take note of when a renter moves out. This is a good practice to implement since certain appliances may appear to be in working order, but upon long-term use, their functionality may deteriorate quickly. Having a follow-up with tenants allows you to note this early on in the tenancy.

Familiarize Yourself with the Landlord-tenant Laws in Your State

A landlord’s entire rental operation must comply with the landlord-tenant laws. This applies to move-in and move-out walk-through inspections.

Landlord-tenant laws are provided to ensure that both landlord and tenants know their rights and responsibilities during a tenancy. For instance, if the damage was caused by renters then the repair costs can be deducted from the renter’s security deposit. However, if property deterioration is a result of normal wear and tear, the cost of updates would fall on the landlord.

It’s also recommended to learn about the property laws in your state to be aware of the maximum limit of security deposits, what deductions are allowed, and how the deposit should be stored by the landlord to avoid disputes with tenants.

Bottom Line

Conducting a walk-through inspection can help you protect your rental property and keep it compliant with habitability laws.

If you want to reduce the risks of costly errors and potential lawsuits, it’s advisable to hire a property management company to take care of your rental home. Are you looking for a trusted property manager? If yes, contact Gifford Properties and Management today!

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