If you’ve ever rented before, you know about walkthroughs. As a landlord a walkthrough is for each, and below will be a checklist to use when doing them.
Walkthrough by both landlord and tenant at lease and end of lease
A walkthrough is something done by both landlord and tenant at the time the property is leased, and when the lease is over and the tenant is moving out. It’s an inspection of the property.
At the beginning of the lease it is done to have both parties on the same page about the condition of the property before it is inhabited. A checklist should be done and signed by landlord and tenant, and pictures of EVERYTHING should be taken by both parties.
At the end of the lease the landlord is looking for damage or illegal alterations to the property, (illegal meaning not approved by the landlord in writing), per the lease. Damage is considered anything in excess of normal wear and tear.
Again, a checklist should be filled out and signed by both parties and another set of pictures of EVERYTHING should be taken by both parties. Pictures are taken at both times by both parties so in case there is a need for proof in a dispute over how much of the security deposit is withheld by the landlord at the end of the lease.
The walkthrough is done so the landlord can determine if damage has been done to the unit that would allow for deductions to be taken from the tenant’s security deposit. It either allows the tenant, if done prior to move out, to fix items to keep deductions at a minimum, and/or lets the landlord know what must be fixed before the next tenant moves into the property. Not all states require it, but as a general rule, it is a good idea, required or not, so you have documentation of damages and property condition.
As a landlord a walkthrough will give you a few benefits. It will allow you to determine repairs and anticipate costs. It will actually help you avoid disputes with the tenant because both are aware of condition before and after the tenancy and also allows the tenant to do the repairs to mitigate their loss in security deposit, saving you the cost after they move out.
Now onto the checklist:
Is there adequate parking near the property for tenant and guests? Is it assigned or ﬁrst-come, ﬁrst served?
Is the exterior lighting adequate? Are common areas well lit?
Are there elevators and do they work? Are stairways well lit and secure?
Are common entrances locked and if so, how is access granted: doorbell, buzzer, security camera, call phone?
Are locks in good working order? Will they be changed out before move in?
Do doors open and shut easily? Are they heavy enough for safety, but not so heavy they are hard to open? Is there a way to look out before opening (i.e. a peephole or a way to view outside)?
Is the property clean?
Are the ceilings and walls in good repair? Is paint fresh (i.e. no peeling or marks on walls or ceilings)? Are there nail holes in the walls? Any signs of water damage or mold? Any cracks in drywall or plaster?
Are there enough closets and are they large enough for storage? Is there any kind of organization system in closets? Is there a lockable outside storage area?
Is flooring in good repair? Are carpets frayed or dirty? Is hardwood scratched or water stained? Is tile chipped, cracked or uneven?
Are kitchen and bathroom cabinets in good repair? Do they open easily? Is all hardware there? Are they straight and installed correctly? Is interior shelving in place?
Bathroom and kitchen sinks, tubs and wall tile are in place, sturdy, grout is clean and complete? Tile isn’t chipped?
Does water drain quickly in all sinks and tubs and showers? Is water clean and has it been tested? Do water temps and pressure stay consistent even if more than one is running at a time? Does the toilet work properly and is it clean?
Do all electrical outlets and switches work? Are any buzzing, have char marks or are hot to the touch? Where is the circuit breaker and does it have any of the same issues?
Do windows open? Are glass and screens intact? Are window coverings in good shape?
Is there a washer and dryer available in the unit? Does it work?
Does the heating and air conditioning system work?
Does each room have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, per state law?
Can you get cell reception? What about landlines? Is there hook ups for cable/satellite/internet available?
Is there overhead lighting and does it work?
Do all appliances work? Are they clean?
Be smart and cover your bases. Do walkthroughs and be thorough.