The landlord move-out process starts with the inspection checklist you completed when your tenant moved into the property. You’ll want to create a move-out checklist that’s exactly the same, so you can compare the property’s condition at move in with the way it looks as a tenant prepares to leave.
Move-Out Inspection Checklist for Landlord
Take a look at your move-in inspection checklist and offer your tenants an opportunity to do an inspection walk through before they move out. At that point, you can talk about things that are damaged or dirty and need to be repaired in order to avoid having the security deposit charged. Tenants don’t have to do this with you, but you need to offer it, especially if you plan to make deductions from their deposit.
Compare Move-In and Move-Out
As you walk through the property, take as many pictures as you did during the move-in inspection. This will help you document any damage. If an appliance is missing a knob or is excessively dirty, you’ll be able to see that in a picture, and also see by the move-in pictures that it wasn’t that way when the tenants took possession. Complete your checklist according to the copy you have from the move-in process, and make a list for your tenant of any items that are damaged. The tenant can decide to make the repairs or not.
Security Deposit Disputes
With a good move-out checklist, you have some support when it comes to charging a tenant’s security deposit. You can demonstrate that something was damaged during the course of a tenancy, and that the tenant is responsible for it. If the tenant pushes back, get together to go over the move-in checklist and the move-out checklist. When you review the pictures and the notes together, you should be able to get on the same page.
Don’t charge the security deposit for regular wear and tear, and make sure you can prove that there was damage or that the tenant didn’t clean something or fulfill the move-out requirements. You don’t want to go to court with a security deposit dispute, and good inspection reports can help you avoid that.