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How to Create a Landlord Property Inspection Checklist

If you play your cards right, running a rental property can be a very profitable business. With a relatively low mortgage, buying a home as a business investment may have plenty of earnings potential.

Unless you’re profitable enough to hire a property manager, you’ll likely be clocking in a few hours on a regular basis to act as a landlord for the tenants you rent your space.

In addition to all of the legal perimeters surrounding the obligations (and limitations) of being a landlord, you’ll have routine landlord inspections and a tenant move out checklist to consider.

Validating the condition of your property before you legally sign off on a tenant having moved out – and a new one moving in – can be tricky, so having a property inspection checklist will help make sure you don’t miss anything along the way. Let’s take a look!

The Importance of a Landlord Inspection

As a landlord, you’re legally obligated to handle damages to your property and any money collected as a security deposit within a specific time frame.

The exact number of days or weeks you have to return a tenant’s security deposit is mandated by your local municipality, so it’s important to know how long you have to identify damages, how to communicate them to your tenant, and exactly which damages are allowed to be applied to the money you collected as a security deposit. 

Because you’re required to follow these legal guidelines, having a property inspection checklist ready to go the moment a tenant has vacated the property is crucial to ensuring you don’t become financially responsible for damage they leave behind.

Your Property Inspection Checklist 

When a tenant has provided you notice to vacate or terminate their lease, it’s a good idea to perform two landlord inspections, one before they begin the process of moving out and another immediately after they turn their keys back into you. 

Here are the things you’ll want to be on the lookout for both times. For each item, inspect for current condition compared to move-in condition and any obvious damages. 

Living Room 

  • Walls and ceilings (including crown moldings)
  • Windows (including any curtains, blinds, films or screens)
  • Doors 
  • Any original light fixtures 
  • Floors (including carpet, hardwood, or baseboards)

The Kitchen 

  • Appliances (stove, dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator) 
  • Light fixtures
  • Cabinets and finishings 
  • The sink and garbage disposal 
  • Counter surfaces

Bathrooms 

  • Walls and ceilings 
  • Floors (particularly around the toilet and tub)
  • Cabinets and areas under the sink
  • Water pressure 
  • The sink and water faucet
  • Towel racks and medicine cabinets 

Bedrooms 

  • Walls and ceilings 
  • Carpet 
  • Light fixtures 
  • Ceiling fans 
  • Any furniture provided as a part of the lease 

Other

  • The yard 
  • Garage 
  • Pool (if applicable) 
  • Air conditioning unit
  • Basement or attic 

Scheduling Your Property Inspection 

When a tenant is moving out, it’s extremely important to compare every aspect to the house at present to the condition it was before move-in. Conducting two move-out landlord inspections will give your tenants an opportunity to pay for any of their own repairs out of pocket, or to identify any omissions in your assessment. 

This property inspection checklist will help guide you through each room in the house and remind you which elements of the space to consider for damages as you go. And don’t forget to take diligent notes and include pictures with your final assessment before billing a tenant for damages left behind.

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