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by Sandy Shores, M & M Real Estate

CameraA couple of days ago I met my new tenant at one of our rental houses here in Melbourne Florida. She was bringing me the balance of the move in money. It was time to have her to sign the lease and I was giving her the keys to her new house.While she was reviewing the lease, I walked through the house, and took pictures inside and outside, being careful to include all the rooms.

We swapped money for keys, she signed her new lease and as I was leaving she was already moving items in. I think they will be happy there. The house is just minutes from her job.

I am always happy to be able to help a nice family find a comfortable home to live in. For me, I hope it will be another long term tenant/landlord relationship.

When I got back to my home office, I copied all of the photos to a CD, labeled and dated the disk.

I haven’t always taken move in and move out pictures.

However, several years back I decided it would be a wise idea to keep them on file.

I have never had a need had to use them.

And, I hope that I never do, however now I always have them, if there is ever a tenant dispute over a security deposit, or a question on the move in or move out condition of a property.

I have heard of landlords that have had nightmare situations because they couldn’t prove the condition of their rental house upon move in, or move out, either.


As a landlord or property manager, do you take move in and move out pictures of your rentals?

Sandy Shores is with M & M Real Estate in Brevard County, Florida, providing Residential, Investment & Relocations, serving all of your buying, selling and investing needs in Brevard County Real Estate. She also buys, sells, rents, owns & manages investment property.

See Sandy’s feature, I Can’t Pay the Rent Because I Have to Pay My My Son’s Cell Phone Bill.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment including REAL ESTATE FORMS, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

Learn how to Curb the Insanity of Move-Out Day.

See our feature 12 Eviction Mistakes That Can Sink You.

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  • L

    I take Move-In pictures. Didn’t think about Move-Out pictures.

    I will add that for my future tenant turnover.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Good article, however I have been to court once for a move in/move out situation. I fully documented the outstanding, clean condition of the apt when tenant moved in and took pics/documented on the way out – 12.50 hours past scheduled move out, when she left behind debris in the basement, left the stove/oven filthy and broke a closet door off its hinges. Charged her a whopping $85. She brought her pro-bono attorney friend to small claims court to represent her. I confidently turned over my before and after docs to the judge, where upon her attorney advised that she had signed under duress, if she didn’t sign, she wouldn’t get the apartment. I proudly explained to the Court that there was no duress, we comfortably sat on the living room floor together, side by side in a very friendly fashion and went over everything, that we both had felt very comfortable with one another. Too bad, the Judge felt sorry for her (and had more respect for her lawyer than me). I had to repay her the $85.00. It just goes to show that nothing is ever fool proof. Nonetheless, I still use the docs and believe that they have prevented other issues from popping up.

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