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Moving On: 4 Things Your Move-Out Checklist Should Include

Written by Posted On Friday, 13 October 2017 16:20

Checklists are an important part of renting out a property. Security deposits are often a point of contention between landlords and tenants, and you’re less likely to have issues when you get a move-in checklist from each tenant and provide them with a move-out checklist. The move-in checklist is where the tenant notes the condition of the unit, including any issues. The move-out checklist is where you explain what the tenant needs to do when moving out to get their security deposit back. Here are four items you should always have on a move-out checklist.

Everything in the Unit Must Be Working Correctly

Even a small studio apartment has plenty of components that may need repairs from time to time. Ovens, stovetops, refrigerators, and water faucets are a few of the most common items that can stop working properly. This will usually be your responsibility as the landlord, but it’s essential that your tenant realizes it’s their responsibility to notify you of any issues. You don’t want to have a tenant move out only to find that several items in the apartment aren’t working.

The Unit Must Be in the Same Condition As It Was Originally

Your tenants need to know the condition that you expect the unit to be in, especially since many have a very liberal idea of “standard wear and tear.” When you specify that the unit needs to look the same when the tenant leaves as it did when they first moved in, there’s less room for confusion. This is where a move-in checklist will help, because you’ll have a record of the unit’s condition upon move-in that was signed by both you and the tenant. To make it clear what you expect, you should explain in the move-out checklist that tenants need to keep their units free of any modifications, besides anything you approve, and should clean them before moving out.

The Tenant Is Responsible for a Pest-Free Unit

Any sort of bug infestation can be a major problem for you as a landlord. If you have a building with multiple units, certain pests, such as roaches and bed bugs, can travel from one unit to another, making them difficult to eliminate. For instance, pest control in Raleigh, NC, or in other areas, is similar to apartment repairs in that it typically falls on you as the landlord, but the tenant again has an obligation to notify you of these issues. Clarify this in your move-out checklist so that you don’t end up with a bug-infested unit when a tenant leaves.

The Tenant Must Schedule a Move-Out Inspection

It’s a good idea to go through a move-out inspection with each tenant before they go. This gives you a chance to go through the unit and note any potential issues that could result in the tenant not getting their full security deposit back. One of the reasons why tenants are often frustrated about this is because they only find out they’re not getting their full deposit returned when they receive an invoice for repairs. When you let the tenants know of any issues during the move-out inspection, they have a chance to talk to you about it and it won’t come as a surprise later. Anywhere from three to five days prior to a tenant’s move is a good time for an inspection.

Providing a move-out checklist will make the entire process easier for you and your tenants, and as an added bonus, it often results in units that are left in better condition. Make sure your checklist has all the right items on it for a smooth, simple move-out, every time.

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Rachelle Wilber

Rachelle Wilber is a former real estate agent now turned freelance writer that specializes in home realty, mortgage, and building. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies.

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