You’re so excited that you’ve found a new tenant for your rental property in Ft. Walton Beach. Knowing that you’ve found a high-quality tenant after thoroughly screening them and collecting their deposits has put your mind at ease. You trust your property is in good hands.
However, there is one more thing you should do before you hand the keys over to your new tenant – a move-in inspection.
Detailed move-in inspections are crucial to leasing a rental property. While the state of Florida simply states that a landlord must provide a habitable rental, you should go the extra mile and conduct an inspection with your new tenant.
By the end of this article, you’ll know just how important a move-in inspection is, how to conduct one, and how it will benefit you and your tenant.
What is a Move-In Inspection?
Let’s cover the basics first. What is a move-in inspection?
A move-in inspection is a physical examination of the rental property before a new tenant moves in. The landlord and new tenant walk through the property and check for any damages, marks, or scratches caused by previous tenants.
It’s best to hold these inspections a day or two before the new tenant moves in. This allows time for the landlord to clean and get the property ready between tenants.
The purpose of a move-in inspection is to identify damages that have not been caused by the new tenant. This protects the new tenant from being held liable for previous damages at the end of their lease.
What to Look for During the Inspection
There are a few things you should look for during a move-in inspection.
Focus on whether all appliances are working properly including the stove, washer and dryer, and refrigerator. Check the walls for holes, scratches, or any other damages. If the property has hardwood floors or carpeting, check for scratches, dents, or stains as well.
You’ll also want to make sure the bathroom is in decent condition too. This includes molding and grout, cabinets, toilet, and shower.
How to Successfully Conduct a Move-In Inspection
To ensure your move-in inspection is done correctly, there are some important steps that you should follow.
Document Any Damage
If you or your tenant notice any damage to your Fort Walton Beach property during the inspection, make sure to document it. This is best done with a dated photo.
A simple click on your phone will suffice as the date is automatically recorded. Create a separate album of the damages with your tenant’s name and the property address to refer back to at the end of your tenant’s lease.
Prepare a Checklist and Follow It
Before you begin your move-in inspection with your new tenant, it’s best to have a checklist already prepared. This checklist will keep you on track and ensure you don’t forget to check anything in the property.
It’s a good idea to print the checklist out and write notes on it during the inspection, so you remember what you’ve looked at, what was damaged, and any other thoughts.
To save you some time, we found this great, thorough checklist you can use during your next move-in inspection.
Have Both Parties Present
In order for a move-in inspection to be successful, both you as the landlord and your new tenant must be present at your property in Fort Walton Beach.
This allows you both to witness any damages present at the property, so there is no disagreement at the end of the lease. The tenant can also ask questions and may point out damages you never noticed before.
Write a Report
After the move-in inspection has been completed, write up a brief report or document about the damages you found. Make sure to include the date, name of the tenant, and address of the property, along with detailed descriptions of the damages and even the photos you took.
You can show this to your tenant to review and have them sign it, agreeing that the information is correct. Keep this report filed during your tenant’s lease to refer back to when they move out.
Reasons to Have a Move-In Inspection
It sounds like a lot of work conducting a move-in inspection, right? There are quite a few good reasons as to why you should have one for each new tenant, though.
Helps Determine New Damage
At the end of a tenant’s lease, you must reexamine the property for any additional damages that the tenant may have caused. These repairs can be easily identified when you compare it to the list of damages you found in your move-in inspection.
While you may be able to repair some of these damages, others may require you to dip into the security deposit your tenant gave you at the start of their lease.
Protects Your Property
When a tenant sees how much you care about your property and take the time to conduct a move-in inspection, they’ll have more respect for it. Therefore, they could be more conscious about potential damage throughout their lease.
Not only will it protect your property, but it will also protect you at the end of the lease. Since you walked through with the tenant, identified and documented any damages, there will be no miscommunication at the end of the lease.
Avoid Security Deposit Issues
One of the most common issues landlords have with tenants is returning a partial security deposit or none at all. If a tenant leaves a property with damages and repairs, the landlord may use their security deposit to pay to fix them.
While landlords must send the tenant an itemized receipt of repairs, tenants can still argue that some of the damage was not caused by them.
Conducting a move-in inspection will help you avoid these issues and arguments because you’ve already documented previous damages. Therefore, you can compare new damages to the old ones.
Pro Tip: Have a Move-Out Inspection
Once your tenant has moved out or is just about to, conduct a move-out inspection. This allows you and your tenant to walk through and examine the property once more for damages and repairs.
When you point out new damages or areas that need to be cleaned, then it allows the tenant to remedy the issues, so you don’t have to use their security deposit and do it yourself.
Acquire New Tenants with All American Realty
Fort Walton Beach’s leading property management company, All American Realty, is here to help you acquire high-quality tenants and conduct a thorough move-in inspection to protect your property.
Our experienced team of real estate professionals will ensure your property is ready to be leased and has minimal damage. Plus, we’ll take care of scheduling any maintenance that must be done.
Contact us today and speak to one of our team members about how we can help you acquire new tenants for your Ft. Walton Beach rental property within 7 days!