Move-out inspections benefit landlords, tenants, and the unit as a whole. Landlords conduct move-out inspections to get an idea of how their tenants treated the unit during their occupancy. Tenants, similarly, can track any damage they may have left behind. This process helps both parties understand what charges the landlord needs to pursue to restore the unit to working order.

That doesn’t mean that conducting a move-out inspection is easy, though. When landlords and tenants have a move-out checklist on hand, determining the remaining value of a rental unit gets a little easier.

Can You Conduct a Move-Out Inspection Without Your Tenants Present?

While move-out inspections can be a shared effort, they don’t have to be. Landlords can conduct a move-out inspection without having their tenants present. In some circumstances, the lack of a tenant can open that party to additional fees, especially if they cannot contest any damage that a landlord finds. 

Regardless, tenants who do not wish to participate in their final rental inspection should leave their keys and other appropriate materials with their landlord before moving off the property in question.

Move-Out Inspection Checklist

No matter how much square footage your rental unit offers, you need to track each room’s condition upon tenant move out. Tenants and landlords can both participate in this process by inspecting the following rooms:

Living Room and Bedrooms

There aren’t many places to hide damage in a unit’s living room and bedrooms. Some of the most common forms of damage in these rooms include scuffs along the wall, ripped or torn carpeting, and set spills. If the unit in question has other units above it, or if it is a two-story building, then there’s a chance that there may be damage to the ceiling, as well.

That said, these two types of rooms are often the ones that need the most immediate repairs. Because the living room and bedrooms are people-oriented spaces, future tenants will want any signs of previous damage taken care of long before making themselves at home. That being the case, both exiting tenants and landlords need to report news of this damage during the move-out inspection.

Kitchen

Kitchens are full of nooks and crannies for debris to make their way into. When tenants move out, they can easily overlook the kitchen in order to meet a landlord’s deadlines. Also, landlords may feel tempted to pass over some damage in the kitchen to put their rental unit back on the market more quickly.

That said, a clean, safe kitchen is a major selling point for many new tenants. A damaged kitchen, in turn, can be costly for both an ex-tenant and a landlord. With a move-out checklist in hand, both parties can avoid repair expenses while making the transition as easy as possible.

During the move-out inspeciton, all parties should inspect the following parts of the kitchen with particular care:

  • Inside and back of the stove
  • Space beneath and behind a refrigerator
  • Inside of a pantry, if applicable
  • Ledge beneath a washing machine
  • Pipes connecting to a dishwasher
  • Inside of the sink
  • Inside of the microwave, if one came with the unit

If you manage to inspect, if not clean, these parts of a rental kitchen, you can more effectively note a unit’s damage and potential repair expenses.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms, like kitchens, can easily become hubs of debris. Because bathrooms see so much more moisture than any room in a rental unit, their appliances tend to see significant wear over the course of a tenant’s lease. Tenants who aren’t especially diligent with their cleaning can even leave mold or other dangerous materials in their wake.

The impact these materials have not only on the value of a unit but also on the health of future residents makes it essential to address right away. During a move-out inspection, landlords and tenants alike need to look over their showers, tubs, sinks, and toilets to spot any signs of set-in waste or debris.

Arranging Your Move-Out Inspections

Tenants and landlords alike want their rental spaces to remain in good condition. Tenants who conduct move-out inspections upon the end of their lease have the chance to spare their security deposit, while landlords can put that empty unit back on the market all the faster. These parties can participate in move-out inspections together or conduct them separately. Either way, the unit in question benefits from their attention.

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