Moving is stressful for everyone involved, whether it is the landlord or the tenant. The landlord has to prepare the property, address any maintenance issues, and bring it up to par for renting. On the other hand, the tenant has to pack and deal with all the stress of moving to their new place. But there are a few things that can be done to ease this process of moving. One of them is a checklist that clearly captures the condition of the property at move-in time.
Is the check list required?##
A pre move-in checklist is mandated by regulations in certain locations. States like Michigan, Utah, Montana, Massachusetts, Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, North Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, and Washington require the checklist. That said, HomeKasa highly recommends this checklist as best practice for every landlord / property manager and tenant.
How does the checklist help?##
The checklist documents the condition of the house even before the tenants move in. The same checklist can be later used during move out to observe any differences and estimate the repair cost. This makes the moving easier for both the tenant and landlord and avoids he-said she-said discussions. HomeKasa recommends that photographs and videos be included along with a checklist at both move-in and move-out. This reduces the odds of a dispute. However, if dispute happens, the checklist makes it easy to rectify the situation objectively.
Where do you store the checklist?##
HomeKasa allows you to store the checklist along with other details of your property in our software. This gives you easy access to information for both the landlord and the tenant anytime you need it and from anywhere.
What's included in the checklist?##
The checklist should capture every room and the condition of every item in each room. HomeKasa's checklist is organized by room and by categories making it easy for you to document the condition of your home. We also recommend adding comments to each item as needed so that any unique notes can be captured. At move-out time, you can also capture the estimated repair costs. Use the free tool offered by HomeKasa to make this process easy.
How is it done?##
Simply put, a checklist is a table that captures items room by room and the condition of the room. Let's walk through an example for a laundry room below. However, the same concept applies for move-in and move-out checklist for all the other rooms in the house including, entrance / foyer, master bathroom, powder room, kitchen, garage, living room, etc. See table below for laundry room.
- Crown molding
- Door hardware
- Outlets & switches
- Kitchen sink
- Window treatment (Curtain, blind, curtain rod)
- Ceiling lights
- Wall lights
For each one of the line items above, inspect the room and mark the condition if it needs to be addressed. Here are the terms to use to keep this simple:
- Repair Replace
- Paint Spot Paint
- Clean Spot Clean
If a particular line items needs repair, select repair. If it needs to be replaced, select replace. Likewise, if it needs painting, select painting. If only minor spots need to be addressed, then prefix spot. For example, if a small scuff on the baseboard needs painting, select spot painting next to baseboard. If you are using the printed version of this document, you'd be writing down instead of selecting. Ideally, if you have prepared the house well and addressed any repairs before the tenant moved in, this list will be minimal. You can review our article on what materials to select for updating the rental / investment property for some valuable insights on long term utility.
The check-list should be signed by both the tenant and the landlord / property manager. Once this is done, share a copy with the tenant. With HomeKasa, you can email a copy to the tenant and store the document in the cloud. Welcome kit
We also recommend that you provide a welcome kit to the tenant. This includes guidelines on key things to keep in mind as they decorate the place and how to take care of the house. Afterall, you worked hard to invest in this house. You want the tenant to take good care of it. You can read more about it in our article here and in fact share the document with your tenant.
Address the issues##
Address the issues that were captured in the table. Once these have been addressed, we recommend that you mark these issues as addressed, add the date and get the tenants' signature as acknowledgement. Share the updated copy with them. This becomes your new baseline.
That said, some states may require that you do a pre move-out inspection and give the tenants. Schedule this 3 weeks before move-out.
When the tenant moves out of the rental apartment or home, conduct a move-out checklist after they have emptied the house. Again at move-out, walk them through the checklist. We like doing this when the house is empty and during day light. This will help you catch all the issues. Damages won't be hidden behind or under the furniture. Many states regulate that you provide a cost estimate or an actual repair bill to the tenant within a certain number of days post move-out. If you don't follow these as a landlord or property manager, you could end up holding the bill for all the damage caused by the tenant. If carefully planned and executed, this document provides you with all the information you need to have a smooth transition at both move-in and move-out. Discipline is key to being a successful landlord. HomeKasa provides cloud-based property management software to make your life easy. With our free software, you can manage everything from one place.