Move In Checklist / Move Out Checklist Overview
Moving in or out of a home can be a stressful and confusing process for both tenants and landlords. That’s why it’s important to have a streamlined process in place to make everything as smooth as possible.
One of the easiest ways to achieve this is with a move in/out checklist, which is an organized way to check the condition of the rental property. Get to know why it's essential and the crucial elements to include in it.
The Importance of a Rental Move In Checklist
Think of an apartment move in checklist as a contract that protects both a tenant and a landlord in case of any disputes in the future. Once both parties sign the document, it means both are in agreement that the rental property is in good shape, and everything is accounted for.
For tenants, a rental inspection checklist gives documented proof of the actual state of the apartment they're renting. It can clearly state which areas of the house are already in disrepair before the tenant arrives; he or she is not liable for those. It protects them from unscrupulous landlords who might attempt to get them to pay for repairs they didn't incur in the first place.
For landlords, a rental checklist is a basis for them to return the security deposit in full in the future. It can record the existing condition of the house when the tenant moved in, and therefore which damages they are liable for once they move out.
Move In Checklist vs. Move Out Checklist
An apartment inspection checklist can serve as both the moving in and moving out checklist. That’s why you should include both a “moving in” and “moving out” column in the document.
When the tenant first moves in, the checklist should be completed right away. Both parties should keep a copy of the completed checklist. During the checkout process, both the tenant and the landlord should go over the move in checklist line by line. The goal is to check if each item is still in good condition. Any damages beyond normal wear and tear are then deducted from the security deposit.
At the end of the tenant move out checklist, there should be a space for a sign-out signature from both parties. It makes all that you agreed upon during the checkout process official. If possible, you should also include the tenant's next residential address, in case you need to follow up or send them official documents.
What to Include in a Moving Checklist
An apartments inspection checklist should include all the rooms in the rental property to make it easier to run through and organize. Every room should be accounted for, including miscellaneous rooms like storage rooms, garage, or attics. Even the outside of the house (walls, porch, or patio) should be included.
Each room is then broken down into its component. This always includes the floor, walls, and ceiling of the room. Lighting fixtures, as well as the bulb inside, are also accounted for. If the home is furnished, include all appliances or furniture that came with the property.
Then the condition is indicated for each section or component. To make things quicker to read, shortcuts should be used. For example, if the wall is merely dirty but otherwise free of damage, you can put in “NC” for "needs cleaning". For ceilings that have chipped paint, write down “NP” to indicate "needs painting". Finally, for serious repairs, indicate “NR” for "needs repairs", or "RP" for "needs replacing".
When to Send a Moving Checklist
Moving in is a stressful and exhausting process. A good landlord will make the experience as straightforward as possible for tenants.
One way we always recommend starting off is to send the moving in checklist to tenants in advance—at least two weeks, if possible. Doing this gives them ample time to prepare and an idea of what to expect.
Sending a checklist ahead of time also gives you and the tenant sufficient opportunity to schedule a joint inspection. Not only is it quicker to do this in person, but issues can be more easily cleared up if both parties are present.
A moving in checklist should ideally be part of a tenant welcome package after the tenant screening process and approval of their rental application. This package is meant to welcome them and get them up to speed on the moving in process, plus any rules or regulations you might have. For example, you can put in procedures on how to set up utilities, pay rent, or report maintenance issues.
Get access to a comprehensive move in checklist, as well as other critical rental documents, when you join the American Apartment Owners Association. Sign up for an account today.