Introduction

Hey there! So, you’ve found your future home to rent—congratulations! Your adventure is about to begin. Wait, before you sign that lease, there’s one crucial step you shouldn’t skip: the rental property inspection. Think of it as a way to make sure your future home is safe, sound, and just right for you. Let’s walk through your first move-in together, step by step.

 

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At a Glance

Rental Property Inspection Checklist

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Why Get a Rental Property Inspection?

An illustration showing tools used in home inspection.

Why Get a Rental Property Inspection?

A new place awaits your presence. You already have packing, paying a deposit, and moving to the new place on your plate. So then, you might be wondering, “Why should I even bother with an inspection? I trust this guy.” Well, here’s why it’s important:

Spotting Potential Issues Early

Trust doesn’t have the same mileage as legal does. Imagine moving into your new place only to discover that the plumbing is a mess or there’s mold in the bathroom. Or worse, you find that there is no parking allotment or there are Chinese Dry walls that you cannot do anything about once you have moved in. Yikes! An inspection helps you identify these problems before you commit, so you can address them with the landlord ahead of time.

Ensuring Health and Safety

Your health is priceless, right? So let the hospitals decide the bills and not your house. Imagine health issues like asthma attacks or allergies popping up out of nowhere once you move in. Or you start cooking to find your groceries attacked by rats. There is also a possibility of a midnight-water-visit introducing you to your co-habitants: cockroaches. An inspection ensures that the property is free from hazards like mold, pests, or faulty wiring. You want a home where you can relax and feel safe.

Avoiding Rental Property related Legal Hassles and Deposit Disputes

We’ve all heard horror stories about security deposit disputes or unexpected charges. From being blamed for the scratches on the carpet to hidden policies on pets. When it is time to move out, refer back to your initial inspection report. Conduct a pre-move-out inspection with your landlord using this document as a reference. Address any legitimate damages that occurred during your tenancy, but also point out any pre-existing issues that were documented at the start. This can help clarify what is your responsibility and what isn’t, making it harder for the landlord to unjustly withhold part or all of your security deposit. It’s your shield against unfair charges and unexpected meth labs!

Different ways in which you can inspect the rental property.

Types of Rental Property Inspection?

There are different stages of inspections, and each serves its purpose on its due time. Here’s a quick rundown:

Inspecting while driving through the neighborhood : Drive by inspection

This is a quick look at the property from the outside. Check for obvious issues like: in-general atmosphere of the neighborhood or if there are broken windows that need fixing. The location of your rental property is crucial for various reasons, including safety, convenience, and overall quality of life. Are the streets well-maintained? Is there ample street lighting? These factors contribute significantly to your sense of security. On the lines of a first impression, it sets the stage; if you even want to commit more time to this particular property.

Pre-signing the Rental-Lease Inspection

Once you have zeroed in on the property you love, you can now ask for an in-depth inspection. This one acts like a first date. You are checking for the things that matter in the long run. Along with the vibe, see if the everyday details like the shower work or the stove turns on or not. If you have finalized the place for sure, we have an awesome guide for you to follow along with. Gives you step-by-step pointers on things to check. You can decide as you go, about what you want to negotiate with the landlord on.

Day of Moving-in Inspection of your rental property : Move-in inspection

On the day you move in, do a detailed inspection with the landlord. Make it a day of photos, notes, and videos. You are the photographer and the house is your muse. This is the “condition” you are getting the house and your landlord will expect when you move out. Document everything! This is crucial for your records.

Day of Move-out Inspection of your rental property : Move-out Inspection

When you’re ready to leave, this inspection with the landlord will determine the state of the property and your security deposit return. Address any repairs that fall under your responsibility. This can include patching up nail holes, repainting walls if necessary, replacing broken light bulbs, and fixing any minor damages that occurred during your stay. Hiring a professional cleaning service can be a worthwhile investment to ensure the property meets the landlord’s expectations. By taking care of these issues proactively, you reduce the chances of your landlord withholding money from your security deposit for repairs. Clear communication with your landlord is essential throughout the move-out process. Discuss any concerns they have and be open to negotiating solutions.

Routine Inspections 

Routine inspections are regular check-ups, typically conducted every few months, to ensure the property remains in good condition and to catch any issues early. They are health check-ups for your home, where minor problems can be identified and addressed before they escalate into major, costly repairs.

These inspections usually fall under the landlord's responsibility, though tenants should also take an active role. Landlords schedule these inspections to monitor the state of the property and ensure it is being well-maintained. They may check for signs of wear and tear, ensure that safety features like smoke detectors are functioning properly, and look for any potential issues such as leaks, mold, or pest infestations.

How to Conduct an Inspection for the property you intend to rent

Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually do an inspection. This usually takes place either before signing the lease or on the move-in day.

What to Do If the Landlord Refuses?

Sometimes, landlords can be a bit stubborn. If they refuse an inspection:

What to Check During a Rental Property Inspection?

Here’s a checklist of what you should be looking at:

Exterior

  • Roof & Gutters: Any missing shingles or leaks?

  • Walls & Foundation: Cracks or water damage?

  • Windows and Doors: Check if they open and close properly.

  • Landscaping: Is the yard well-maintained?

Interior

  • Cleanliness: Is the place clean and livable?

  • Walls and Ceilings: Any cracks or stains?

  • Floors: Check for damage to carpets, tiles, or hardwood.

  • Windows and Blinds: Are they functional?

Pest Control

  • Signs of Infestation: Look for droppings, nests, or damage from pests.

  • Preventive Measures: Are there measures taken to prevent pests?

Plumbing

  • Leaks: Check under sinks and around toilets. Make sure everything drains properly.

  • Water Pressure: Test all faucets and showers for water pressure.

Extra Tips for Conducting an Inspection

Here are a few tips to make your inspection smooth and effective:

Wrapping Up

Getting a rental property inspection might seem like an extra step, but it’s a crucial one. It ensures your new home is safe, helps you avoid future disputes, and makes your renting experience much smoother. Remember, if a landlord refuses an inspection, it might be best to look elsewhere.

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You’re making a smart move by being thorough and proactive. By following this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate your first rental property inspection like a pro. Good luck with your new place, and here’s to a happy, hassle-free time in your new home!

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