How to Conduct a Tenant Walk-through Inspection

As a landlord, conducting a tenant walk-through inspection can help you get the property back in better shape after the tenant leaves. You’ll also be able to, among other things, prevent costly repairs and avoid disputes over damages. The following are tips to help you conduct a successful walk-through inspection.

Draft a Checklist

Create a checklist that covers every room in the house and all of the property appliances. You can find generic forms online, or create specific ones with the help of a property management company.

In the checklist, include sections for every room and its components. For instance, in the kitchen, you’ll want the checklist to cover things like the condition of the doors, walls, floors, sink, window, ceiling fans, appliances, and light fixtures. You may also want to leave one or two blank spaces should additional items come up during the inspection.

The checklist should also have additional columns where you can record the items’ conditions when the tenant moves in and when they leave. Finally, remember to include a line for you and the tenant to sign at the end of the inspections.

Conduct the Inspection Together with the Tenant

The initial tenant walk-through should be conducted before the tenant can move in. Schedule a convenient time when the tenant and conduct the walk-through with them. Doing this will help you get the tenant’s insights as well.

a tenant and landlord inspecting a kitchen during an initial property inspection

Consequently, this will help minimize any potential future disagreements on the property’s move-in condition. Additionally, you’ll be able to educate the tenant on the differences between normal wear and tear and excessive damage.

Try to Simplify the Process as Much as Possible

Keeping the property inspection short is ideal. If you point out every imperfection the home has, the Florida tenant may think that they will get penalized if they don’t return the property in perfect condition. Ideally, you will want to conduct the inspection in about 20 minutes or less.

Document the Property’s Condition Visually as Well

It’s vital to document the condition of the property. And luckily, you don’t have to buy expensive equipment or hire an expert to do it for you. A decent smartphone and notepad are all you need.

Go through every room and take a general photo. Then, if there is any damage, make sure to take a close-up. Make sure the time stamp feature is enabled, if available. Then, create backups of the photos just in case of anything.

Aside from taking photos, another option would be to videotape the walkthrough. You’ll want to have a written record to accompany any photos and videos taken.

Go Through the Property by Yourself Before the Tenant Shows Up

Conduct a thorough inspection of the property before the tenant shows up. This will help prevent surprises, as well as help reduce potential issues the tenant might have during the first few days of their tenancy.

contractor inspecting an oven and checking things off on a clipboard

The last thing you want is to realize that the bathroom faucet is leaking water during the walk-through inspection. This can paint a bad picture of you, as the tenant may start questioning your responsiveness to maintenance issues. So make sure to check the following and be as thorough as possible:

  • Do the appliances run as they should?
  • Are the toilets flushing properly?
  • Do the electrical components work as they should?
  • Are the faucets blocked and in need of cleaning or are they in good shape?

Allow the Tenant Time to Document any Additional Issues After Moving in

The tenant may need a few days to determine whether everything is working as it should. As such, after the tenant has moved in, allow them an additional 2-3 days in case they spot any additional issues. And if they do find anything, make sure to document it in the checklist as long as it’s legitimate.

For instance, during the inspection, the dishwasher may have appeared to work when switched on. However, it’s only after being used by the tenant that they notice it may not be draining as it should.

Familiarize Yourself with the State Laws

There are certain things that you may or may not be able to do during the move-in inspection as per the state laws. As such, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all relevant laws to avoid issues later on in the tenancy.

judge signing a document with their gavel next to them

For instance, you must conduct the inspection during normal business hours and provide tenants with notice of when the inspection will take place.

The Impact of Walk-through Inspections on the Security Deposit

The state’s security deposit laws require that landlords only make deductions for certain legitimate issues. You can only make deductions from the security deposit for unpaid rent, damage exceeding normal wear and tear, and other violations of the lease agreement.

The photos taken during the walk-through inspection will help you determine what damage is the result of wear and tear and which is negligence. Based on that information you’ll be able to make legitimate deductions to the tenant’s security deposit at the end of their tenancy.

You must notify the tenant within 30 days after they have moved out of any deductions you have made and this must be in writing. The tenant will then have up to 15 days to contest the deductions.

Bottom Line

When done well, a tenant walk-through inspection will benefit you from a maintenance point of view, enabling you to rent out a desirable home. Which, in turn, can help you maximize your income.

If you have a question or need expert property management help, look no further than Suncastle Properties. We can help you enjoy peace of mind with our customized property management services. Get in touch to learn more!

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