I have designed a Move-in Inspection Form to help guide you through what should be the next step in the process of renting to a new tenant. There is a link to it at the bottom of this page because I want you to read this page before you use it.
A lot of landlords miss this step, which can cause you a lot of grief down the road should you end up with a tenant that causes damage to the unit.
Once again, I reiterate: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! This can translate into a pound of money.
If you are renting to a Section 8 tenant, an inspection will be done (and must be passed) before the tenant can move in. You have a right to request a copy of the Inspection through the Freedom of Information Act should you need it. Even then, if the housing authority does not require photos be taken, you should definitely take your own.
If you are renting to a cash paying tenant, I highly recommend that you do a move-in inspection with the tenant. This may be your only means of salvation should you have to go to court.
This form is similar to what an inspector looks at on the Section 8 move-in Inspection. It’s just not quite as detailed as the HUD form. Hopefully, it will get you into the Inspector’s frame of mind. Documentation is the key. If you’ve ever been in court, you already know this.
I certainly hope you never have to go to court for tenant damage, but if you stay in this business long enough, chances are it will happen, unless you decide to just eat the loss and move on. If you can’t afford to do that-Listen Up! Don’t skip this step. Do a Move-in checklist with the tenant, before you sign the lease. It will also send a message to the tenant that you care about your property and their living conditions – and that you’re on top of your game. Just be tactful and don’t scare a good tenant away.
Finding a tenant that you would like to rent to is only the beginning. If you have done your due diligence-meaning you have had the tenant fill out your application, and you have done your background checks you have already narrowed down the chances of getting a destructive tenant.
This form can be downloaded and used at your convenience. But before you download and use it, please read the instructions on how to use and fill it in. Poor documentation is useless in court.
There are nine pages. Each room/category has it’s own separate page. This was done so that you could print the pages you need. If there is no dining room, then you don’t have to print that page.
There is only one page for the bedroom category. Print out the number of bedroom pages that you need. Number each bedroom and circle the location of the room so there is no discrepancy later as to which bedroom is being described.
Note the condition of each item on the list and use the comment section to describe anything that needs further explanation. For example: If a counter top is damaged, in the comment section note what type of damage it is- a scratch, a burn etc. Be fair about these things.
Fill in the type of floor for each room: Is it carpet, linoleum, linoleum tiles, hardwood, ceramic, etc. and the condition of the floor.
The “Other” category is there so you can fill in any other items that are not already on the form but deserve mentioning, should they be damaged, or turn up missing. such as carbon monoxide detectors, mirrored doors, alarm systems, washing machines and dryers, etc. Do a mental inventory and then put it on the form!
There is room for additional comments at the bottom of each page.
Make sure the tenant reads and understands each page before signing.
Make a file for each tenant and put this form in the file with photos so you have it to do a comparison when they move out (or sneak out!).
Now, here’s the link: Move-in Inspection Form