A Renter’s Guide to a Flawless Move-in Inspection

Written on February 26, 2016 by , updated on September 16, 2017

Move-In InspectionsYou’re a renter, you move every few years. Every time, you have to document the condition of the property so that you don’t get blamed for pre-existing damages.

As such, you’ll want to perform a move-in inspection of a property. But how do you accomplish this without insulting your landlord, while still protecting your security deposit? It can be tricky to pull off, but this article will teach you to do just that. Plus, we’ll give a template to help make sure you cover everything:

When performing the move-in inspection, here’s what you should do, and look for:

1. Be Involved in the Move-in Inspection

The sad truth is that some landlords may use tenants and their deposits as a way to refurbish certain parts of their properties or to pay for normal wear and tear.

To set the record straight, tenants should always document and notify their landlords if any pre-existing damages when they first move-in – preferably within 3 days of taking possession. It’s also critical that tenants are involved with the move-in inspection, or conduct it themselves.

If a landlord tries to perform a move-in inspection without you, stick up for yourself – you need a say in the matter – especially if he asks you to sign it!

2. Previous Damages

Previous damages are a tricky way to get absorbed into paying damages that aren’t caused by you. Some tenants will find a way a cover, or hide it to avoid charges. These can include damages to the wall including scrapes, dents, nail holes and even paint issues.

Paint jobs can cause a huge financial loss as in some instances you can find yourself paying for the whole room being repainting rather than just the walls.

Dirt and debris being found at the bottom of walls, behind sofas and next to showers is extremely important. This shows that the properties were not properly cleaned and you could be liable come the end of your tenancy.

3. Material Defects

As a new tenant coming into a property you are never responsible to fixing broken electrical items or appliances unless you were using them negligently. This includes things such as ceiling lights, switches and plug sockets. You should check to make sure appliances work without problems and plug sockets are safe and functioning normally.

Not only will doing so help you get a better nights sleep, but it will help you avoid any future charges.

4. Health & Safety

In terms of health and safety, these items are the most important to remember during the move-in inspection.

Doors that do not shut properly, locks that aren’t working and smoke detectors should all be tested thoroughly. Should these not be tested properly and come unnoticed will not only offer a financial loss, makes the property unsafe. Properly functioning locks and doors are there to simply to offer a safety protection and stop others from simply walking in and burglarizing your home – or worse!


Smoke detectors can help you when you may have forgotten that food is in the oven, so these are of extreme importance. Appliances are also included into the health and safety checks as any faulty appliances could cause fires, make your property trip and could a dangerous to you, as a tenant.

5. Maintenance Issues

When you are renting a property there will always be some maintenance issues that need to be resolved. Maintenance can range from a squeaky door to toilets that are not flushing properly. Hot water is a priority, so having water that climbs to the correct temperature is a must. It is always important to see that everything is working prior to moving in. Lights, and switches can be easily missed and should be fixed before the issue get worse.

If you find anything that seems broken, or falls into the lack of maintenance category, it’s best to report it in the move-in inspection sheet so that you can legitimately claim “that was broken when I moved in!”

6. Document Everything

Use the camera on your phone to take quick pictures or videos of the condition. Then, use a move-in inspection form to document it in writing. The more you write, the better off you’ll be.

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