Rental property managers use rent inventory checklists when inspecting empty rental properties before the new tenant moves in. The checklist informs the landlord of the current condition of the property; without it, the landlord has no way of knowing whether any damage apparent at the end of the lease was caused by the tenant or whether it was already there when the tenant moved in. The distinction is important, as the landlord can usually charge the tenant for damage the tenant has caused.
Using an Inventory Checklist
A rental property manager uses checklists to compare the condition of the property after the tenant moves out to its condition before the tenant moved in. New tenants should also inspect the property and sign the checklist to acknowledge the condition of the unit. That way, both parties can see at a glance any fresh damage that arises during the period of the tenancy. The tenant is usually responsible for fixing up any damage that it causes.
Importance of Inventory Checklist
Without a rent inventory checklist, the property management has no way of knowing who caused damage at the property, or who is responsible for any items that are missing or stolen. Such lack of evidence makes it very hard for a landlord to deduct repair costs from the tenant's security deposit or take a tenant who causes damage to court.
Unfurnished Space Checklist
A checklist for an unfurnished space often focuses on documenting damages or scratches to walls, carpets, floors and panels in the rental space. Additional items on the checklist include windows and tracks, heat and cooling systems, vent system, drapes and curtains, light fixtures in the ceiling or on walls, doors and closets, toilet bowls and bathtub and ceramic tiles in the bathroom and kitchen.
Furnished Space Checklist
A rent inventory checklist for furnished spaces is often more detailed than unfurnished spaces, because of the extensive amount of furniture in the rental space. Item examples on a furnished space checklist include dinner plates, utensils, cups and wine glasses for the kitchen; dining tables and table mats for the dining room; beds, pillow, mirrors and night stands for the bedroom; and bath towels, floor mats and waste baskets for the bathroom. A checklist for a fully furnished property will be extensive and lengthy. In addition, many items from an unfurnished checklist are also on the furnished list.
Support Checklist with Photos
Even though a tenant signs the rent inventory checklist, a landlord may want to support the checklist with photos. Take the photos the same day as the walk-through with a tenant, attach the photos to the checklist and have the tenant initial and date each photo.
Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.