Use This Apartment Inspection Checklist When New Tenants Move In

An apartment inspection checklist will help simplify the process when tenants move in and move out.

Before a tenant moves into your unit, you should conduct a walk-through of the property to check its condition, preferably with the tenant. The walk-through should be done again once the lease term ends. In both instances, you need an apartment inspection checklist.

An apartment inspection checklist lets you record and keep track of the condition of the home and allows the renter to note any issues. This protects both property managers and owners and the tenant, as it helps identify when the damage occurred and who’s responsible.

Creating an apartment inspection checklist will ensure that you’re checking each unit (and tenants) fairly, applying the same criteria. It will also save time. Here’s a look at when you use an apartment inspection checklist and what it should include.

What’s an apartment inspection checklist?

This checklist includes sections for each room in the unit so that you can note the condition of every aspect of the room — before someone moves in and after they move out. For each room, take note of the condition of the walls, windows, floors, fixtures, plumbing, electricity, safety features and more. The checklist should feature two columns for you to take notes about the condition before and after a lease term.

The apartment inspection checklist is an organized way of recording the condition of everything, which helps you identify if damage occurred while the tenant was living in the home. It also protects renters, giving them a record of any issues with the property before they move in. The property owner or manager and the tenant should sign the checklist as proof that they reviewed it.

When to use an apartment inspection checklist?

Use an apartment inspection checklist at the beginning of the lease term. Walk through the unit — with the tenant, if possible — and check every aspect of the interior and exterior of the home. Note the condition of each element. Save the checklist to use again when tenants move out.

Once a lease term ends and a renter moves out, conduct the same walk-through. Note the condition of the walls, floors, windows, fixtures and other aspects. Compare the condition at the end of the lease to the beginning and make a note of any differences. Calculate the cost of any needed repairs or maintenance, outside of normal wear and tear, and deduct that amount from the security deposit that the renter paid when they signed the lease. Return the balance to the tenant.

Apartment walk-through

Apartment walk-through

Why do you need the checklist?

An apartment inspection checklist is a safeguard. For property owners and managers, it’s a way of documenting the unit’s existing condition and helps hold tenants accountable for any damage while they live in the home. Making a note of pre-existing damage and the condition after the lease ends can minimize disputes over whether to return the security deposit. It’s also a record of any repairs to make before a new tenant moves in.

The checklist and going on the walk-through let tenants see the condition of the rental before they move in and document any issues. Once they move out, it provides a record of how they left the property. The record can also help clear up any disputes that arise.

Property owners or managers and tenants should sign the apartment inspection checklist once it’s completed. Give a copy to the renter and keep another copy in your files.

Sample apartment inspection checklist template

Having an apartment inspection checklist template will make walk-throughs much easier and more streamlined. You won’t have to remember what to look for each time and it lets you equitably check the unit’s condition. Just make sure to use the same checklist for each tenant. Here’s a sample template that you can use.

Make transitions easier

Drafting an apartment inspection checklist will help you handle tenant move-ins and move-outs seamlessly. It will help you track the condition of the property and identify repairs needed and who’s responsible. Listing your property at will also help you find and screen new tenants and collect rent online.