A rental property walk-through helps protect both the landlord and the tenant by recording the condition of the premises. A walk-through is usually completed before and after the tenant moves in and out. The condition of the property upon move-in is compared to its condition on moving day to assess if the landlord will apply any portion of the tenant’s security deposit to necessary repairs. This process can help the tenant identify problems that existed before he moved.
Landlords will inspect the condition of the walls by looking for any cracks, holes or gouges. While most landlords let tenants use nails to hang pictures, some leases have provisions regarding the types of nails that can be used for this purpose.
The flooring materials will be inspected in the bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms and other rooms in the house. Among the things to keep an eye on are stained or burned carpets, chipped ceramic tiles and hardwood floors that became warped because the tenant failed to report a water leak in the room. Pets may have also scratched up hardwood floors or frayed the edges of carpeting.
The landlord will inspect the condition of windows. He might check the actual window for any sign of missing glass, a faulty lock or a broken screen. Landlords will also check the condition of the window treatments, including whether there are any missing or broken blinds.
Plumbing and HVAC
The landlord will likely inspect the plumbing and the HVAC system in the property to check the condition of the water heater, cooling system, toilet, bathtub, shower and sinks. The landlord might turn the faucets on to check that the faucet and the drains work properly and to check for any leaks. He might also check heater vents, fireplaces and smoke detectors. Ceilings, baseboards and the bottom of vanities will likely be checked for any signs of water damage.
A fixture is anything that is permanently attached to the residence. Landlords may check vanities, kitchen cabinets, light fixtures, bathtubs and showers for any type of damage or malfunction.
Landlords will check if there is any infestation or evidence of problems with rodents or insects. This usually means looking for termite damage, animal droppings, fleas that were brought to the premises by tenants' pets, or actual rodents.
The actual walkthrough that a landlord conducts will vary based on the property and his own experiences. He may use a list that is formatted to his specific needs in which he notes the condition of the premises before the tenant moves in and right before he leaves. Some landlords permit a normal amount of wear and tear to occur without holding the tenant liable.
- Department of Consumer Affairs: California: A Guide to Residential Tenants’ And Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities
- Real Estate.com: Walk-Through on a Rental Home: What Tenants Shouldn’t Miss
- MSN Real Estate: Renters: Get back your security deposit
- Free Advice: Residential Rental Walk-through Checklist
- University of California at Santa Cruz: Condition of Rental Property Checklist
Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.