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A Guide to Move Out Inspections With Tenants

When a tenant moves out, a first-time landlord wonders what his responsibilities will be. This can also be a stressful period especially if the tenant that moves out is a great tenant. One of those important tasks that landlords should do is an “initial inspection.” 

Do distinguish this inspection from other inspections like the periodic rental property inspection and walk-through inspection when a tenant moves in for the first time.

A move-out inspection is a process where a landlord and tenant inspect the rental unit together to check for any alterations and damage. Yes, the tenant has to be present during this time. If you went through an inspection before the tenant moved in, the same inspection is also necessary when a tenant moves out.

Any defects that are identified can be deducted from the tenant’s security deposit. The tenant also has the opportunity to be responsible for the repairs so as to avoid deductions.

How Does a Move Out Inspection Benefit Landlords and Tenants?

You may think that these initial inspections don’t affect you and a tenant but they do. 

For landlords, the process can spare them the hassle of tackling unseen damages later on. It also saves them money in case tenants were the ones responsible for the changes in the unit. It will help to refer to your move-in inspection pictures and checklist to make comparisons (“before and now”). How about tenants? Move out inspections also allows tenants to keep their full security deposit.

Overall, the inspections prevent disputes and preserve the good relationship you’ve built with a tenant up until the end.

Related: Communication: The Key to a Healthy Landlord-Tenant Relationship

Should You Give the Tenant a Notice About the Inspection?

The answer is YES. Landlords are obligated to give tenants a written notice saying that the tenants have the right to request a move-out inspection and that they are to be present on the day.

When Will the Move Out Inspection Take Place?

Both the landlord and tenant should agree on the best date and time for the inspection. Scheduling the inspection is needed as this gives the tenant enough time to clean the unit and make the repairs. Also, you as the landlord must give a 48 hours’ advance written notice of the move out inspection schedule, whether or not you and the tenant have agreed on a schedule.

Things to Look for During the Inspection

Here are a couple of things to check when conducting the move-out inspection. Check that these areas/appliances are in good condition or working properly: 

  • Plumbing
  • Faucets
  • Roof
  • Doors
  • Walls
  • Phone jacks
  • Heating
  • Alarms (smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms)
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Electric
  • Carpets
  • Cabinets
  • Countertops
  • Exterior (siding, caulking, etc.)

Based on the inspection, you need to create an itemized statement of the repairs or cleaning that the tenant should do to avoid deductions from the security deposit.

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