Move-out inspections are an important responsibility for landlords and property managers to perform. Some states require a move out inspection, but even if your state doesn’t, many find it worth it to take the time to do so. Here are a few basics that will help you handle this task efficiently and effectively.

What is a Move Out Inspection?

A move out inspection occurs when a tenant is about to move out of a unit. The landlord and tenant walk through the unit to look for any damages or illegal alterations. The landlord typically looks for any damage that exceeds usual wear and tear or any changes that were not agreed upon such as changing the paint color. They compare the current conditions of the unit to the condition it was in when the tenant first moved into the property.

Purpose of the Inspection

The main purpose of the inspection is to allow the landlord to document the condition of the property. It allows them to see if any damage has been made, which will decrease the amount of the security deposit the renter will receive. If the inspection is done before the tenant moves, the landlord can supply them with a list of damages found and the tenant may have the chance to make the necessary repairs before they move out. This also allows the landlord to see what repairs need to be made before the next tenant moves into the property.

How to Prepare

There are a few important things to make sure you do before each move out inspection. First, always give the tenant at least a few days notice before you do the inspection. The laws of how much time you have to give varies depending on your state, so be sure to do your research and make sure you follow the regulations set.  Explain to your tenant why the inspection is necessary so they understand how this is beneficial to them as well. Finally, be prepared to take pictures of any damages found and date them so you have evidence of deductions made to the security deposit. However, be careful not to take any photos of personal items.

What to Look For

There are many examples of move out checklists online, however there are a few basic things to be sure to look for. Make sure all of the walls are the same paint color they were when the tenancy began, unless given specific permission to do otherwise. Check all appliances to make sure they work and are free of damages. Check that all plumbing is flowing freely and the pipes are free of blockages. Check walls behind furniture for any dents or holes. Finally, the unit should be thoroughly cleaned and all trash should be removed from the property.