Tip of the Month - December 2007


Source: Property Management for Dummies by Robert Griswold

Try to schedule the move-out inspection with your vacating Tenants just AFTER they have removed all their furnishings and personal items, turned in all their keys, and had the utilities disconnected.  The only way to determine the condition of some parts of the unit is to wait until the rental unit is vacant.  Also, you want to make sure that the Tenant does not do additional damage after the inspection while they are removing their possessions.

Unfortunately, you cannot always arrange to do the inspection with the Tenant at this time.  If that is the case, conduct the move-out inspection as soon as possible and preferably with a Witness present.  If you wait too long to inspect the unit and then discover damage, the Tenant may claim that someone else must have caused the damage and you may face an uphill battle in court.

Tenants have been known to show up for the walkthrough but deny that they know anything about the damaged items you find.  Refer to your Move-Out Inspection Checklist in these situations.  If the item is clearly indicated on the checklist as being in good condition when the Tenant moved in, the Tenant does not stand much of a chance. However, if the move-in remarks are blank or vague, you may have some problems justifying a deduction. Remember: As the rental housing professional, the courts hold you to a higher standard and interpret your vague documents in favor of the Tenant.

Make sure you get all keys returned: has the Tenant given out keys?  When keys are surrendered, the Tenant has surrendered the unit. **Rotate locks & keys after each Tenant.***

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This web page was updated on 12/03/2007.