• Sasha Struthers

The Importance of the Move-In/ Move-Out Inspections

The Move-In and Move-Out inspections protect both the landlord and the tenant. The Move-In and Move-Out report are usually the same document, with a column dedicated to Move-In and mirror column dedicated to Move-Out. When done right this report is accompanied by photos and videos.


My dealings with habitability lawsuits, Section 8 inspections and housing inspections highlighted the importance of this report because it holds both sides accountable for the ongoing condition of a unit.


Landlords are usually held to higher standards of care when it comes to residential housing, putting the burden on the landlord to keep a unit "habitable." Habitability is usually defined by state law, with local laws being the most strict.


Additionally, the Move-In report is crucial when tenants make repair requests for damages they caused to the unit. Having a good Move-In report with photos and videos substantiates your pass through of repairs that are permissible to pass on to tenants when they caused the damage. Landlords lose a lot of money each year to R&M that is the result of tenant negligence. Good record keeping of the unit's conditions at Move-In and each time a repair is done makes it challenging for a tenant to dispute charges.


The Move-In/ Move-Out report keeps a tenant honest when it comes to security deposit deductions or habitability claims. There are five main components to a Move-In/ Move-Out Inspection Report:

  • Date of the Report

  • Itemization of Rooms

  • Additional Notes

  • Tenant & Landlord Acknowledgement

  • Photos / Videos

When doing the walk through with the potential tenant or vacating tenant you go through the report and make notations about the rooms, such:


  • Walls

  • Floors

  • Counters

  • Hardware

  • Plumbing

  • Light Fixtures

  • Appliances

  • Doors

  • Windows

  • Cabinets

  • Furniture

  • Sinks

  • Showers/ Tubs

The notation next to each room or items is to mark the condition of the item on Move-In to be compared to the condition on Move-Out. Commons notations of condition include:

  • NEW- Brand New

  • CLN- Clean

  • STN- Stained

  • SCR- Scratched

  • REP- Needs Repair

  • RPL- Needs Replacement

  • F PNT- Needs Full Paint

  • T/U PNT- Needs Touch- Up Paint

  • F CLN- Needs Full Clean

  • T/U CLN- Needs Touch-Up Cleaning

Photos and video play a big part in the security deposit return because items that are returned stained, scratched, need repair or replacement must be substantiated with proof. A before and after photo can be very compelling in the event a security deposit itemization is challenged. As always, recording keeping is very key.


If you have any questions about this topic, landlord-tenant law or property management consulting you may contact me by phone at (818) 306-0686 or by email at sasha@struthers.legal

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