Tip of the Month - March, 2019

Inspect and Photograph the Unit
Using a Landlord-Tenant Checklist

Source: Leases & Rental Agreements-11th Edition
BY-Marcia Stewart, Ralph Warner, J.D.,-Attorney Janet Portman

To eliminate the possibility of all sorts of future arguments, it is absolutely essential that you and/or your prospective tenants check the place over for damage and obvious wear and tear before the tenant moves in. Tip from Crossett Real Estate: the rental unit/property should be “rent ready” prior to any showings-the entire space being rented (garage/yard,etc.) should be photographed or a video including but not limited to date taken placed in your file.

A landlord-tenant checklist, inventorying the condition of the rental property at the beginning and end of the tenancy, is an excellent device to protect both you and your tenant when the tenant moves out and wants the security deposit returned.  Without some record as to the condition of the unit, the tenant is all too likely to make unreasonable demands.  Tip from Crossett Real Estate: take photos of all appliances, all lighting-bulbs should be in place and working, a smoke alarm-carbon monoxide alarm addendums in place and working-all utilities working and transferred in tenants name (if applicable.)

The checklist will provide good evidence as to why you withheld all or part of a security deposit. Coupled with a system to regularly keep track of the rental property's condition, the checklist will also be extremely useful to you if a tenant withholds rent, breaks the lease, moves out or sues you outright, claiming the unit needs substantial repairs.  You can download form on the Nolo website.

This web page was updated on 02/17/2019.