Rental checklists are useful for both landlords and tenants. They are one of the easiest landlord documents to understand. Every landlord should document the condition of their rental unit, and a checklist provides a simple way to do so.
When Should You Document Condition of Unit?
There are two times you should always document the condition of your rental property: when a tenant moves into the unit and when a tenant moves out of the unit. This allows you to compare the condition of the property to determine if the tenant has caused any damage.
How Should to Document
To document the condition of the property, you will want to take photos of the property. You will then want to walk through the property with the tenant and with the rental checklist so that together you can document the condition of each room and of the individual parts of each room. You should have the tenant sign off on this checklist to acknowledge that the tenant agrees with the condition of the unit as stated.
Reasons This Rental Checklist Is Important
This checklist is important because it can help serve as evidence if a tenant tries to dispute damage that was done to the rental while they were living in the property. You will have evidence of the condition of the property when the tenant moved in, that the tenant has signed off on, in case you are involved in a security deposit dispute.
What Should It Include?
There are basics that every checklist should include and then there are specifics that will be unique to each rental unit.
When preparing a checklist that describes the condition of a rental unit, there are certain things you want to make sure the checklist includes.
- Tenant’s Name.
- Tenant’s Address, Including Unit Number.
- Date of Move-In.
- Date of Move-Out (When Occurs).
- Date of Move-In Inspection.
- Date of Move-Out Inspection.
- Tenant Signature.
- Landlord Signature.
- Condition of Each Room in Rental Unit Upon Move-In.
- Condition of Each Room in Rental Unit Upon Move-Out.
- Condition of Exterior Spaces, Such as Front Porch, Upon Move-In.
- Condition of Exterior Spaces, Such as Front Porch, Upon Move-Out.
- All Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are in Functioning Order.
Every unit and each property is different, so each rental unit checklist must be adjusted to accurately describe the individual unit. For example, a checklist for a one-bedroom will be different than a checklist for a two-bedroom because there needs to be an additional section for the second bedroom. A checklist for a fully furnished unit will be much more extensive than a non-furnished unit because you must note the condition of each piece of furniture. It is in your best interest to be as specific as possible when preparing the property condition checklist for each rental unit that you own.
Sample Rental Unit Condition Checklist
Date of Move-In Inspection:________________
Move-In Inspection Performed By:______________
Date of Move-Out Inspection:_________________
Move-Out Inspection Performed By:_________________
P=Poor; G=Good; E=Excellent
Please feel free to describe the condition of the feature in detail. For example, note if there is a scratch, stain or dent. If the item is new, this should also be noted here.
Move-In Condition Notes Move-Out Condition Notes
Carbon Monoxide Detector
(Sections for Dining Room, Hallways, Bedroom 1, 2, etc., Will Be Similar to Above)
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Bathroom 1, 2, etc.
By signing this document, the landlord and the tenant are agreeing to the condition of the rental property, except for any discrepancies noted. The tenant acknowledges that damage done to the unit, in excess of normal wear and tear, can result in deductions being taken from the tenant’s security deposit.
Date of Move-In Inspection:_________________________________
Date of Move-Out Inspection:_________________________________
*This is a sample document, it is not legal advice. Please consult a lawyer to determine appropriate wording for legal documents and to make sure you are adhering to your state’s laws.