” The Move-in Condition Report “

By this time, the rent and security deposit has been paid and lease has been signed. It’s now important to do one final thing before handing over the keys: the move-in condition report. The move-in condition report is simply a paper that the tenant will sign those documents, in detail, the condition of the property. Allow the tenant to take some time walking through the property and inspecting it – letting them take notes of the condition of each room. If there is a hole in a door – document it. If there is a light switch that doesn’t work – document it. If there is a stain on the carpet – document it.

The move-in condition report is designed to protect both your interests and the interests of the tenant when it comes time for the tenant to move out. As much as you might think you’ll remember every detail of the home – you won’t. By documenting everything and having the tenant sign-off on that documentation, the tenant cannot come back to you next year and say “oh – the giant hole in that wall was already there.”

For the same reason, I also recommend taking photos (or a video) of the property before handing over the keys. This will be further evidence in the future when the tenant moves out. In many States, a landlord cannot deduct any charges from the security deposit if a move-in condition report was not filled out when the tenant moved in. Do not make this mistake – document, document, and document. Some landlords will even photograph and/or video record the walk through itself to document the tenant noting the condition of the property.

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