Move-in inspections help landlords and tenants assess the value of a marketable unit. These inspections make it easy for all parties to get an early idea of what damage, if any, a unit may have endured and what fixes it may need. Similarly, these inspections can limit the harm that new tenants are responsible for, as both landlords and new residents can replace any dangerous materials or improperly installed accessories before they move into the unit.

Benefits of a Move-In Inspection

For landlords, move-in inspections help establish the base status of the rental unit. Landlords have the time to assess what kind of damage another tenant left behind, what appliances they may need to replace, and how the place looks. This way, when the newest tenant moves out, landlords can have a solid idea of what further damage may have arisen during that tenant’s stay.

Also, tenants get to use move-in inspections to assess their new unit’s overall state. Throughout these inspections, tenants can make notes of structural weak points and even request repairs. What’s more, tenants who take numerous pictures of a rental unit before moving in can protect themselves from unnecessary fees when it comes time for them to move out.

Move-In Inspection Checklist

A comprehensive move-in inspection should see landlords and tenants alike moving through every available room in a unit. The best way, then, to complete a successful move-in inspection is to touch on important features in the following spaces:

Living Room

The living space in a rented unit will see the most traction from guests and residents alike over the course of a lease. In turn, it’s the room that’s most likely to take on damage. When landlords and tenants inspect the living room, all parties will want to keep an eye on the:

  • Walls
  • Ceiling
  • Doors (if applicable)
  • Rental furniture (if applicable)
  • Light fixtures
  • Outlets and switches
  • Lightbulbs (if applicable)

During a move-in inspection, it’s important to note any apparent signs of pre-existing damage and the unit staples. If, for example, a landlord requires the unit’s walls and ceilings to remain a particular color, they’ll want that requirement noted to later detect any forbidden modifications to the unit’s appearance.


While a unit’s living room sees the most foot traffic in an apartment, the kitchen is the place most likely to see a significant mess. Landlords and tenants alike will want to inspect any appliances, tile work, plumbing, and wiring in the kitchen before beginning a new lease. In doing so, these parties can ensure that everything in the kitchen works as it should and protects the health of incoming residents.


A valuable rental bedroom needs to be well-insulated, clean, and free of any signs of wear and tear. In these spaces, it’s important to make sure that not only the general living space is habitable but that the windows, blinds, and light fixtures are also up to date.


Bathrooms, like a unit’s kitchen, aren’t the cleanest places in a rental unit. That being so, it’s especially important to make sure that the space is safe and efficient upon a new tenant’s arrival. When inspecting a bathroom, both landlords and tenants should watch for tile damage, piping leaks, rust, mold, and other dangerous materials. A bathroom that actively houses dirty caulk, exposed metal, or improperly wired outlets can turn costly in terms of repairs and damages, should anyone be injured during their residency.

Utility and Storage Spaces

It’s easy to overlook storage spaces when inspecting a rental unit. However, these spaces deserve as much TLC as the rest of a unit. Keep an eye out for insect or pest infestations alongside poorly-hung shelves or inadequate insulation. Landlords and tenants can request repairs for damage in these spaces, all the while ensuring the comfort and safety of the surrounding unit.

Move-In Inspections and You

Landlords and tenants alike benefit from a thorough move-in inspection. For a move-in inspection to be efficient, however, it needs to be done properly. No matter your relationship to a rentable unit, make sure you have your move-in inspection checklist on hand when it comes time to move in. A little forethought before the start of your lease will make moving out all the easier.


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