The dreaded “inspection”– it’s done before move-in and move-out and causes a ton of headaches for both parties, especially upon the end of a lease. You built a relationship and then things start going downhill just because the inspection revealed a ton of deductions from the security deposit. Is it really that important? Is the extra legwork for doing inspections worth it? Well, here are some things that you should find out about walkthrough inspections.
What exactly is a “walkthrough inspection”?
It’s when both landlord and tenant go around the rental unit to check for any damages or unauthorized modifications. Landlords usually look for damages that are beyond the normal wear and tear of a unit or any changes made to it by the tenant without prior approval, usually involves painting/decorating the walls. They compare the condition of the unit before move-in day versus the current condition of it.
When do landlords conduct these inspections?
It’s done before move-in and during move-out. There are state laws that determine when these inspections will take place, it could on the exact date of when the tenant is supposed to move out, or could be two or three days after. Regardless, inspections are best done when all of the tenant’s possessions are out of the unit so the damages incurred can be easily seen by the landlord.
For landlords, using websites such as MoveIn.Space can lessen the headache of determining what kind of damages were caused. Some issues may not seem obvious immediately, so it’s best if the landlord has proper documentation of what the unit looked like before the tenant moved in. MoveIn.Space helps keep these things in one convenient place and minimize potential disputes.
What are the benefits of walkthrough inspections?
Even if not all states require landlords to do so, it’s still beneficial for both parties to conduct walkthrough inspections.
- Avoid conflicts with the tenants – If the landlord discovers the damages early on, they can make the tenant aware of the possible deductions that will be made on their security deposits.
- Prepare for repair fees – Walkthrough inspections lets landlords anticipate the repairs that need to be done and how much they’ll cost.
- Gives the tenant the chance to fix the unit – If the inspection was conducted before the tenant’s move-out day, the landlord can give them some leeway and fix the damages to keep their security deposit intact.
- Full security deposit – If the tenant manages to leave the place in immaculate condition, then they don’t have to worry about deductions on their security deposits. Alternatively, if they fix the damages noted by the landlord, then they can rest easy knowing that they’ll be getting their money back.
- Gives them a chance to fix damages – the walkthrough inspection can put focus on damages that they didn’t notice immediately.
- Avoid getting shorthanded by their landlord – Contrary to popular belief, there are still landlords out there who will pretend you have incurred damages and deduct from your security deposit. By doing the walkthrough inspection together, the tenant can make a dispute if the landlord points out some “damage”.
Are there different kinds of walkthrough inspections?
Yes, there’s actually four different kinds of inspections.
- Move-in inspection – Conducted during the process of moving in. For transparency’s sake, it’s best if both the landlord and tenant are present. Why? So that both parties can’t say the old school excuse of, “It was/wasn’t like that when I moved in!” They can take photos of every nook and cranny of the rental unit so they can make comparisons once move-out inspection day rolls in. If there are already pre-existing damages prior to a potential’s tenant move in, it must be noted as well.
- Routine inspections for safety and cleanliness – Just a standard inspection made by landlords to ensure that their tenants are living in a habitable environment. It’s usually done every 3-6 months because if a landlord waits for a longer period of time, the condition of the property might deteriorate. As with any other inspections, it should be well documented. If a landlord finds any sort of damage to the unit, they can schedule a follow-up inspection to confirm that a tenant has fixed the issues. Sometimes, these routine inspections can actually cause tenants to get kicked out of a unit.
- Drive-by inspections – No, a landlord doesn’t have to be in the unit to conduct this. This is mostly a “discreet” inspection conducted by driving around the perimeter of the property to check for any violations of the rules. A landlord must inform their tenants if they’re planning on conducting one in the future. Usually, unauthorized pets get discovered during these kinds of inspections.
- Move-out inspection – The king of all inspections. This determines if a tenant will be walking away with their full deposit or if the landlord is gonna have to shell money out of his or her pocket to fix the damages. To avoid playing the blame game, both parties must be present during the final inspection– no more telling who caused what. As always, technology is your best friend. It’s wise to have a camera handy (with timestamps!) to take photographs of any damages–for what? Well, sometimes tenants get a little too happy when it comes to suing landlords over security deposits… So, make sure that before suing, tenants should be 100% sure that what their landlord did was illegal and in violation of their rights.
Now that the basics of walkthrough inspections have been explained, tell us in the comments how yours were conducted and how the issues were resolved!