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Fresh Look Blog

Landlord Move In / Move Out Inspections & Checklists

6/25/17 9:49 PM / by BB French

BB French

Keeping proper documentation of both move out and move in property condition is key.  Nothing new here, most landlords are aware of this fact.


Below we've outlined a few ways to take your Move Out and Move In procedures to the next level by adding in the administrative needs, including Safety & Property tours, forwarding address, and documenting condition with photos. 

Move Out Inspection

On Move Out Date, document the final condition the property was left in, take as many pictures as possible.  You are permitted to withhold deposit to fix items beyond "normal wear & tear" Holes in walls, doors, broken cabinets, shelving, etc can be charged back to the tenant.  Minor tack holes, traffic paths on carpet, etc cannot be charged back.  You cannot charge a tenant for a carpet because they walked on it.  


> > > FREE DOWNLOAD of our Move Out Report < < <

Use as a model to Create your Own


You need a forwarding address and instructions on how to split up the security deposit. If two roommates are splitting it, get a written account of how it will be dispersed. Make sure all parties are agreeing to that, and put it in writing even if it’s via email. This eliminates confusion or dispute after the fact.  Best practice is to refund deposit within 2 weeks of move out. 



Move In

Clearly, we skipped a step here on Advertsing & Showings, which is a topic of its own.  Read our Article on this process.


Once you've approved an applicant and they've signed their lease; Schedule them for the Move In day & time. We use an online eSignature program for lease signing, so at the time of move in, all paperwork has been signed and deposit has been retained.   The actual move in day is the day you physically meet with the tenant to provide keys and conduct the formal walk thru and Property Condition Report.


This appointment is extremely important in setting the tone for tenancy.  Most landlords and proeprty managers alike have a standard Condition Report to document the property condition at move in, to be compared with the condition at move out.  We strongly suggest you use this formal process to reiterate the importance of lease terms, review building safety and answer any outstanding questions.


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Property Condition Report


Our Property Condition report is a simple inspection app on our phones; We go through the entire unit to review each room & take pictures of the current status.  We take pictures of everything to show the items in good condition as well as any issues we want to make sure the new tenants do not get charged for at move out.  


> > > FREE DOWNLOAD of our Move In Report < < <

Use as a model to Create your Own


TIP:  Arrive early and complete the Property Condition Report before the new tenants arrive; Review what you included in the report and allow them to look for anything you may have missed.  This will speed up the appointment dramatically.  Pictures always perform better than descriptions. 


Property and Safety Tour


Included in our Condition Report are a review of safety issues & points of discussion.  We provide a full tour of the property including closest exits, location of fire extiguishers, hoses, and reviewing building policies regarding allowing strangers into the building.  

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On the tour, we tour the trash area and review trash, recycling and compost requirements.  In the city of Seattle, sorting these is required, enforced by building fines.  In all cities, the importance of breaking down boxes, closing the dumpster lids and not leaving large items or furniture by the trash are advisable policies. 


We show the tenants where the mail is, how packages are handled and the barbeque area, and we provide a whole tour of the building. It makes people feel more comfortable, and it’s safer when people are informed.


Upon returning to the unit, we double check the door locks, that all keys work, that windows easily open and have functioning locks.  Finally, we double check all smoke and CO2 detectors, again reiterating that tenants keep detectors functional throughout tenancy. 

Welcome Home Letter


We provide a simple letter than answers common questions about the unit, the property, and outlines key lease terms.  Items you may want to include in your welcome home letter are:

- New address

- How to submit maintenance requests

- How utilities are set up & paid;  Management monitors all utilites monthly.  

- Renter's Insurance Policy and how this is monitored

- Smoking Policy

- Quiet Hours

- Late Rent Policy

- Guest Policy

- Trash Pick Up days

- Pet Policy

- BBQ Policy

- Roommate Change Procedure

- Role of the Emergency Contact Person

- Contact information for manager and/or site manager


> > > FREE DOWNLOAD a Welcome Home Letter Sample  < < <

Use as a model to Create your Own



Properly documenting both the Move Out and Move In Property Condition is Landlord Basics. Utilizing techology to add pictures to your procedure and outlining your adminstrative needs in the process is Advanced Landlording.  Streamline your business and your life by using our checklists!  

If you have any questions about getting your property ready to rent or any of our Seattle, Snohomish County rental property services, please reach out to the Fresh Look Team. Schedule Call with Fresh Look Real Estate

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Topics: Landlord Resources

BB French

Written by BB French

BB French is Co-Founder & Designated Broker with the Fresh Look Real Estate team. She entered the real estate industry in 2010 is currently a licensed broker & full time investor. BB focuses on small multi-family properties in north end King County and Snohomish County areas. Her clients are made up of primarily self managing owners, buy and hold investors, and the team at Fresh Look.