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Move-in and move-out inspection template for rental properties

About a move-in, move-out checklist

A move-in, move-out inspection checklist is used to record the condition of the property before and after a tenancy. The main benefit of using one of these checklists is it allows you to identify any damages that are the responsibility of the tenant to fix and identify any maintenance that needs to be carried out before the next tenant moves in.

For landlords: Should any serious damages to the property have been caused by the tenant, you will want to deduct the repair costs from the tenant’s deposit. In order to do this and justify the expense, you will want to give your tenant an itemized bill. Having a detailed and accurate move-in, move-out inspection checklist will also act as proof of the damages, should the tenant question the security deposit deduction.

For tenants: Formal documentation of the property condition should highlight maintenance issues when a tenant moves in and allow tenants to ask for key repairs. Both parties should review the condition report, make amendments as needed and sign it. This report may also serve as written documentation if there is a legal dispute in the future.

In short, a move-in checklist provides a convenient and organized way for both landlords and tenants to keep track of a rental property’s condition and check for damage beyond normal wear and tear.

What’s included in a move-in, move-out checklist?

A move-in checklist is organized to give you a formulaic approach to inspecting each room. The checklist includes:

  • Details of property, landlord/ property manager, and tenant
  • Column for move-in condition
  • Column for move-out condition
  • Section for repair notes
  • Section for repair costs
  • Extra fields for notes
  • Space for signatures

The Identification Section

The first section of the checklist covers identification. The following information should be added to this form before you begin:

  • Tenant names
  • Property address
  • Move-in date
  • Inspection date
  • Inspector name
  • Inspection time

All of this information needs to be clearly identified, clarifying what is being inspected, when and by whom. Once the move-out inspection is completed you will want to also add the out inspection date, inspector name, and inspection time.

The date and times recorded on the form should match up with the actual move-in and move-out dates, as well as the image time-stamps.

A Room-By-Room Breakdown

The next section will offer a space for you to record the condition of each of the property’s rooms. You can use shorthand to record the general condition and add notes if repairs are required.

When inspecting rooms you will want to look at:

  • Floors & floor coverings
  • Drapes & window coverings
  • Walls & ceilings
  • Light fixtures
  • Windows, screens, & doors
  • Front door & locks
  • Fireplace (if relevant)

As well as:

  • Cabinets and cupboards
  • Counters
  • Shelves
  • Appliances
  • Plumbing (sinks, showers, taps, etc)

A picture should be recorded for each of these items showing the current condition. When completing the move-out inspection you should match these pictures for comparison.

Taking photos inside house

Column 1: Rooms

Systematically examine every item listed above in each of the rooms.

Column 2: The Tenant Move-In Checklist

Complete the move-in checklist before the tenant moves in. During that inspection time, you should fill in the first column and take a picture to support the reported condition.

Column 3: The Tenant Move-Out Checklist

Once the tenant has moved out, conduct a move-out inspection and fill out the final column, making a note of any damage and the overall condition. Remember to take pictures to show any changes or damages that occurred.

Finally, Damages, Signature, & Closing

The final section of the inspection report is where you record the repairs that have been undertaken and the costs of the repairs.

Both the landlord/property manager and the tenant should review these costs and repairs and sign off on them.

The photos you took as proof of damage should be included in this section too.

Shorthand to record the condition of a rental property

With all the steps involved in filling your vacancy, it’s easy to overlook small things during the inspection. You can use the shorthand in the key below to note issues like the condition of the carpet, cracked bathroom tiles, or marks on the wall.

Key and abbreviation:

  • NC Needs Cleaning
  • NSC Needs Spot Cleaning
  • NP Needs Painting
  • NSP Needs Spot Painting
  • NR Needs Repair
  • RP Needs Replacing

How do you get your property move-in ready?

Before your new tenant moves in you will want to take this opportunity to refresh the property and ensure it’s in the best possible condition. For this purpose, you will want to ensure that any required maintenance has been carried out and that the property has been cleaned to a high standard. A few steps to take between tenancies then include:

  • Schedule professional services to make repairs.
  • Purchase supplies, such as paint, lightbulbs, new blinds or curtains etc.
  • Do basic yard work such as mowing, raking, and pruning overgrown plants.
  • Wash the windows and repair any torn window screens.
  • Change the air filters in the HVAC system.
  • Re-key the locks if required.

Final Words

Managing vacancy periods and getting in new tenants can be a rush of activity taking up time and causing stress. Having an inspection report to hand will help you streamline the process for your move-in, move-out inspection.

While you could simply do a walk-through and take pictures of each item without having this form, this documentation will provide support should you need to make a claim against a tenant’s deposit or file a dispute. Plus, it allows both parties to clearly review an organized professional report so that both parties are on the same page at move-in and move-out.

A great rental property move-in, move-out checklist then, is an essential part of protecting your property investments, and we believe that our form can help you be more successful with each walk-through!

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Ben Luxon

Ben is the editor and lead writer for Landlord Studio. He has worked with real estate professionals all over the world and written educational articles on tech, real estate, and financial growth for sites such as Forbes, TechBullion, and Business Magazine.

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