The Importance of the Move-In/ Move-Out Inspections
Updated: Jan 5
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
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:
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
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.
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