A move in, move out checklist is an important part of the tenant-landlord relationship because it lets the landlord know about any repair and maintenance issues. It also makes sure tenants do not have to pay for damage caused by another renter.

Although different rental arrangements require different checklist tasks, there are several things both tenants and landlords can do for managing a move in, move out process covering all types of rental arrangements.

Checklist Starts with a Contract

Like marriage, the landlord-tenant relationship is developed through trust. To ensure trust between both parties, a written contract is created by the landlord, which the tenant must thoroughly read. Hence, we have the first item on our move in, move out checklist.

It is called a legally valid renter’s contract or lease.

The lease should clearly stipulate the terms of renting a living space, as well as describe the conditions that require the landlord to fix something and require the tenant to pay for damages.

Turning On and Off the Utilities

Turning on and off the utilities is a vital component of any move in move out checklist. The tenant should inform the landlord about when the utilities will be turned on and off. This is especially important for Internet access, as the Internet company hired to install a service typically has to visit the property to complete the project. The landlord needs to be there to let the Internet service company employee into the rental unit.

How to Address Property Damage

Although stipulated in the rental agreement, it is imperative that a tenant and a landlord discuss the situations requiring the repair and the maintenance of the property. For moving out, the landlord must perform a comprehensive inspection of the property to determine what, if anything needs to be fixed. Tenants should try to fix anything they can fix that the rental agreement allows. For example, a rental agreement might forbid a tenant from repairing or even maintaining the electrical system. Some of the most common repair and maintenance tasks performed by tenants include fixing broken windows and following a regular lawn care regimen.

How to Get Paid

Rental agreements include a clause that clearly explains how much the rent is each month, as well as on what day the tenant needs to take care of the monthly or weekly rent. However, many rental agreements do not describe how the tenant should pay the landlord. Payment options include cash, check, debit card, and money order. If a property management company is involved, they probably have an online portal for payment. There can also be an agreement to use a combination of payment methods.

Creating an Effective Move in, Move out Checklist

The first order of business for the checklist is to decide on the dates for both the move in and move out inspection. You do not have to agree to a date set in stone, but instead, you agree to a phrase such as “Five days before moving date.” Next, you want to list the rooms in the order prioritized for both inspections. A common order of rooms reads like the following:

  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom(s)
  • Bedroom(s)
  • Living Room
  • Dining Room
  • Basement

For each room, create subsections that list features like doors, floors, windows, and light sources. Have a third column be the space where both the tenant and landlord add notes. For example, a broken window space can read “Cracked window to cost tenant $50 to fix.” Make copies of the checklist to give both the tenant and landlord a duplicate to use if the original is misplaced.

A Few Tips for Making a Move in, Move out Checklist

Taking before and after photos on the condition of the property is an essential element of any move in, move out checklist. Photos will be the proof that decides whether an item in question is considered in damaged condition. Communication is important as well, especially for tenants that break something. The best way to tick off a landlord is to welcome him and her with a damaged surprise. In addition, tenants need to have landlords clarify ambiguous language written into rental agreements, such as “general wear and tear” and “damaged beyond repair.”

One of the biggest mistakes many tenants make involves making changes to the appearance of a property, without first gaining the consent of the landlord. This includes painting a wall or banging nails into a wall to hang a painting. Many landlords allow tenants to paint rooms a different color, as long as tenants repaint the walls to the original color before moving out. Inspecting the property for pests is another must for developing a move in, move out checklist. For a tenant, adding “cleaning the property thoroughly” should be on the checklist to improve the likelihood of receiving the full amount of the security deposit.

Using Online Resources

Many websites devoted to moving offer comprehensive checklists that help landlords and tenants move in and move out as seamlessly as possible. The checklists even include tips on how to find the right mover, as well as how landlords can recruit tenants by visiting college campuses and corporate headquarters.

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