How to do a final walk through
As a property manager, we manage your properties and make sure they stay in the best condition possible. However, we know from our personal experience that landlords make many mistakes during their final walk through. For this reason, we wrote this article to address the move out inspection basics and commonly seen mistakes that occur during a final walk though.
Here’s how to do a final walk through as a landlord:
What’s the purpose of a final walk through?
When a tenant is leaving your property, you should make sure the property is in the condition it was before the tenant moved in. If it’s not, you have to solve this situation with your tenant. Your tenant could either repair the damage or agree with the tenant that he will pay for the damages, but you do the repairs.
The best way to do this is to try and do a light walk through about a month before the lease expires. We try to do this whenever we can so the tenant can have an expectation of what to repair and we as the property manager can have an expectation of how much work is ahead.
Telling tenants they will get their full deposit back
This is a scenario that happens again and again to many landlords. They usually assume that the tenants didn’t damage the property in any way and, therefore, preliminarily promise them to give them their full deposit back. It causes unnecessary conflicts, and thus we recommend you don’t do it. You can easily miss items during a final walk through. It’s hard to see a clogged sink for example. Always wait a few weeks before you send the deposit back.
Should I do a final move out inspection along with the tenant?
This is a commonly asked question, and the answer is that it really depends.
We like to do it but usually tenants are not present for it. We like to do it because we want to be upfront and transparent when doing the final walk through to point out any issues. As a property manager, we are human too and sometimes issues we point out are not issues because the “issue” was like that prior to the tenant taking possession.
Not documenting damage
If you only repair the property and don’t document the damage, it could be very hard to legally prove it when you’re not willing to give back the tenant a full deposit.
Always make sure to document the damage before doing any repairs. We take photos of everything we see wrong with the property and of course we have an itemized repair list sent to the tenant if any deductions were taken.
Not putting it on paper
You have to make everything official. If you agree on something with your tenant only over the phone, it is hard to legally prove that the conversation ever existed. You and the tenant should approve and sign a document listing existing damage to let the tenant know what to expect and avoid future feuds. What our property management company does, is have a move out inspection list. The tenant, if they’re present, signs and acknowledges what we found.
Doing a final walk through as a landlord is vital to avoid all the mistakes mentioned in our article. We often see landlords make common mistakes that cause problems. Document everything, be transparent and get it in writing!
If you have any further questions, or think you rather have a company like us manage the property and manage the awkwardness of final walk throughs, contact us today!