Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, it’s important to record a video of the move-in and move-out conditions of the rental property.
A video helps protect both sides when there are disputes over property damage.
But for either party, video evidence of potential problem areas provides far more proof than a checked box and can back up your claims — if the need arises.
Keep a Move-in Checklist: For Landlords
If you own the property, you’re well aware of recent renovations and upgrades, as well as the condition of the space the last time you saw it. Keep a printed checklist of all areas to hone in on as you videotape.
When you have on video the spotless condition of your property upon move-in, you’ll have proof of why you’re keeping all or part of the security deposit if the renter doesn’t return the property to you in that same condition (allowing for normal wear and tear).
Record an overview of all features in every room. Get key details by taking closeups of the following:
Brand-new carpeting and appliances deserve a few extra moments of video time, for instance, to note their pristine conditions. Likewise, if a light-colored carpeting has one obvious stain on it, or one wall has a protruding nail, record it for future reference.
Take notes and record your voice explaining key features as you shoot video.
Here’s a video that Lucas Hall made, albeit, it’s to showcase the property, rather than record a move-out inspection. It’s similar enough to give you the idea.
Keep a Move-in Checklist: For Renters
Renters should take notes when doing the first walk-through of a potential new home.
- Write down every flaw or concern as you inspect the property with your landlord, such as a crack in a window or a water stain on the ceiling.
- Use these notes as a recording checklist for the video you’ll take upon moving in (along with the walk-through checklist provided by the landlord).
- Record an overview of every area of every room.
- Record obvious flaws in detail so they don’t become a blame issue later on.
- Make sure you’ve recorded all the items you noted during the initial walk-through with the landlord.
- You don’t need a video camera to capture footage. A smartphone or even a video-enabled digital camera will do the trick.
- For the best footage, record during daylight and with open curtains to allow maximum natural light into the room. This helps ensure accurate color detail for issues such as stains on floors, walls, and the ceiling, or for mold and mildew spots.
- Where natural lighting isn’t possible, turn on lights or add your own lighting. Smartphones have a difficult time recording clear footage in dim light.
- State the date. It gives your footage more credibility when you speak the date in the video footage. Also mention your name and unit number or address. This helps avoid confusion whether you are the landlord or tenant when other units in the complex may look similar or exactly the same when empty.
Save the Recording
- After you record the video, play it back to ensure the footage accurately captures key details. If not, re-record the space.
- Email yourself a copy of the complete video as soon as possible.
- Keep the video archived in your email (and on your computer or an external hard drive) as proof of the date of file creation.
- Do this with both move-in and move-out video footage. This is especially important for renters in proving innocence over damage or problems with the property after moving out and for landlords when making their case for keeping all or part of the security deposit.
Recording the move-out video is much the same as recording move-in conditions. Tenants should record this after their personal belongings have been carted out to accurately capture the empty space.
And landlords should record this to compare the property to its move-in condition.
Record the space as a whole, making sure to capture potential areas of contention such as flooring, walls, and appliances.
Watch a previous recording of a webinar called “How to Ensure a Flawless Move-in / Move-out”