How to Conduct a Tenant Walk-Through Inspection

For landlords who desire to have their rental unit in excellent shape when the renter leaves, starting a tenant walk-through inspection is a good idea. Often, those who choose to do an initial walkthrough with a new tenant will end up with little property damage than those who rush the process or forget to do it at all.

A walk-through inspection protects both the landlord and the tenant. Normal wear and tear is, well, normal, but excessive property damage is something you'll want to avoid.

Here are seven ways to perform an initial walkthrough with a renter that can turn your final walkthrough into a success.

1. Get a Form Ready

The form must contain an organized list of each room in the unit and all its components. This makes it easy to note down the state of each one.

For a template, you can easily find a walkthrough form online but making one of your own is also manageable. List down each specific room and include the elements from floors, doors, windows, walls, light fixtures, etc. The more detailed the list, the better.

Leave blank lines in case you want to add more items to the list. Another area to include in the form is a column that details the move-in and move-out condition and cleaning fee estimates, replacement costs, or repair charges.

walk through form

Leave a space to affix your signature and the renter’s signature. Once the initial walkthrough is finished, sign and put the date on the form. Don’t forget to send a copy to the tenant.

2. Conduct the Property Visit with Your Tenant

Before the tenant is scheduled to move into the unit, set a time to perform the walkthrough. This ensures that you’re on the same page on the condition of the property since you’re noticing each area together. This practice reduces any disagreements that may arise when the tenancy ends.

Another benefit to a walkthrough is that expectations are laid out early on. This is a good time to speak on the reasonable degree of cleanliness and the difference between damages and normal wear and tear.

The move-in walkthroughs require tenants to be present, but move-out walkthrough participation is unnecessary. At this point, how the rental appears is already final, all cleanups and repairs are done at this time.

3. Simplify the Process

The walkthrough procedure should be done around 20 minutes. Keep it simple so the tenant won’t start questioning the property’s state. You want to avoid a situation where a tenant second-guesses the decision to proceed with renting the unit.

Making the process complicated can make the new renter uneasy so it’s best to avoid over documenting.

4. Always Document with Photos or Video

With smartphones ready in our hands, snapping images and recording a video isn’t hard. Capture the room in one photo then narrow down the details with more photos. It’s better if the date stamp feature is used. Put labels on the pictures and remember to make backup digital copies.

photograph the room

Videos are equally effective to minimize denials later. The important thing is that, in the end, stress is reduced, and disagreements are fewer.

5. Check the Property Prior to the Tenant’s Arrival

Taking time to test if each component in your property is functional is beneficial. You’ll have a solid idea and nip a potential complaint in the bud. This also helps build up the trust between you and the tenant.

Test all the appliances in your rental. Assess the water pressure while flushing the toilets. Check the heater and air conditioner’s state. Open and shut the blinds, windows and doors to find issues early-on. A detailed assessment sets your mind at ease.

Imagine if you find out that something is not working while you do your inspection with the tenant. It can imply that you don’t care about the condition of your unit and are not taking the steps to prevent damages.

When you test things out, you also save on repair charges. Make sure that the tenant agrees to the state of things in the rental. When damage occurs, the costs of repair will be assigned to the renter.

6. Be Generous and Allow a Grace Period for the Tenant to Inspect Further

Providing this grace period to renters is advisable. A period of 3 days is adequate. There might be a few things that escaped your attention so a tenant can bring a legitimate issue forward, whether it be with amenities or the state of the home, itself. Keep notes and photos for documentation.

tenant walk through

It’s best to practice this since it also makes you aware of possible damage in your home. Sometimes, inspections can give us inaccurate observations. For example, an air conditioner may switch on but only after a few hours you’ll discover it’s not cooling the room. Thus, grace periods are important.

7. Know Your State’s Landlord-tenant Laws

State laws act as a guide and landlords must comply with it. You must perform the move-in and move-out procedure according to the legal process. The landlord-tenant laws act as protection and fairly observes both the landlord and the tenants’ rights.

It also informs both parties on their duties as a landlord and renter. When tenant damage happens, the landlord can be relieved to know that the security deposit can be utilized for repairs or replacements of a broken item.

Being familiar with state laws also informs you on the right amount of security deposit to keep, how it should be handled and the procedure of refunding it to the renter when the tenant moves out. Otherwise, a conflict can occur.

You can avoid this from happening by hiring a trusted property manager. As professionals, they’re already knowledgeable on the important things to watch out for during property walk-through inspections.

Bottom Line

With a property management team regularly performing walkthroughs, you can be certain that it’s done properly. On your own, you might miss some things but with the team’s experienced and expert eyes, everything is considered.

If you’re looking for an excellent property manager to assist you on property inspections, call McKenna & Vane Property Management today! The company offers a full suite of property management services from marketing, tenant screening, rent collection to property maintenance.