Landlords have a lot of responsibilities to protect your investment and optimize the value of your rental property. Fulfilling your landlord duties may result in generating consistent income and reaping the long-term benefits of being a rental property owner.
Conducting a tenant walk-through inspection is an important task that you should not disregard as a landlord. It is a crucial stage in the leasing process since it documents the condition of the property before or after a renter moves in or out.
This process establishes a baseline for security deposit deductions based on damages beyond normal wear and tear after the renter has moved out. Here at Limestone Country Properties, we have put together a step-by-step process for conducting a tenant walk-through inspection.
Create a Checklist
It is recommended that you utilize a form when conducting tenant walk-throughs to avoid overlooking anything. This documentation acts as a basis for comparison of the property’s condition and helps in resolving disputes over damages, repairs, and security deposit refunds.
Creating your customized checklist is fairly simple. The form or checklist must indicate each part of the house starting from the outside and working its way in.
It should list every room of the house, its parts, and the current state of each. Inspecting the exterior includes evaluating the roof condition, gutters, downspouts, down to the yard, and outdoor amenities.
When assessing the inside of the home, list each room, then break it down into its parts such as doors, windows, floor, walls, sink, and light fixtures. Account for every piece of furniture and appliance.
Be as detailed as possible when documenting their performance. Always cover all bases by including one or more blank lines to indicate any extra items that may come up during the tour.
Just like any agreement form, include signature lines for you and your tenant at the end of the checklist. Sign, and date the form once you've completed the initial walkthrough. Always create multiple copies, at least one copy each for all parties involved.
Schedule the Inspection
Ideally, walk-through inspections should take place before the tenant moves in or after they have completely moved out of the property. Coordinate with the tenant and everyone else whose name appears in the rental contract to set up a mutually convenient time for the move-in walk-through inspection.
It is not recommended to conduct your final walk-through with the renter present. Usually, at this point, the renter has completed all the repairs and required end of tenancy cleaning and is only interested in receiving the security deposit amount in full.
When undecided, always seek legal advice or consult with an experienced property management company like Limestone Country Properties.
Simplify the Process
Overcomplicating and excessively documenting things may lead a new tenant to question the condition of the property, confuse them, and affect their decision to rent the space.
Creating a streamlined approach demonstrates that you value your tenant's time allowing both you and them to focus on other tasks. Renters will also be satisfied with their interactions with you, leading to increased compliance and adherence to requirements. This is a great way to foster positive landlord tenant-relationships.
Document the Property’s Condition
Gather all tools needed for conducting the walk-through. The essentials include the checklist, camera, flashlight, notepad, and pen. To be more efficient, you can use your mobile phone as a flashlight or camera to take photos or videos.
If the property is in good condition, you could film a walk-through video after you perform your inspection.
Be as specific as you can when documenting any damage, other issues, or required repairs observed during the inspection. Include all the important details and take clear photos. The documentation will be used as a point of comparison when calculating the final amount for the security deposit refund.
Specific notes can help in reducing any disagreements on the potential deductions on their security deposit.
Conduct an Inspections Before the Tenant Arrives
Conducting your own inspection before any interested tenants sign the lease is recommended, therefore inspections are best done during turnover. Use all amenities, try all appliances and open and close doors, blinds, and windows.
When the walk-through date has been scheduled, repeat the process with the tenant present and have them agree that everything is in good working order. This way, you can reduce complaints or claims about an appliance that isn't working or amenity that isn't available.
Provide the Tenant Time to Spot Potential Issues
It may take a few days to determine whether or not everything on your property is indeed functioning as intended.
Clogged bathroom drains and dishwashers, for example, may become more obvious when the tenant has started using them. Give your tenants leeway to identify any existing issues in writing and with photos. This will build on your landlord-tenant relationship and help you hold on to a quality tenant.
Understand Your State's Landlord-Tenant Law
Landlords' and tenants’ rights and responsibilities are governed by state laws. These laws control the amount of the security deposit that you can collect, the situations under which the landlord may hold a portion of the deposit, and the timeframe for returning the final deposit amount.
Property maintenance and upkeep is not only a good idea to increase the value of your investment, but is also a good way to stay compliant with housing laws.
Overall, a walk-through inspection benefits both the landlord and the renter by providing an accurate and detailed assessment of the property's condition.
It aids in establishing clear expectations, promotes accountability, increases compliance, and reduces potential issues, resulting in a more pleasant renting experience for all parties involved.
If the steps seem overwhelming or you’re unsure of how to conduct tenant walk-throughs, Limestone Country Properties is here to help! We are an experienced property management company that serves the Texas Hill Country.
We are happy to relieve you of your landlord duties so you can enjoy reaping the benefits of being a property owner. Contact us today!