A move out inspection is a standard procedure for landlords, and required in a number of states. Move out inspections allow a tenant the opportunity to receive their deposit back if it is found they have cared for the property. However, the move-out inspection also shows landlords if they can keep the deposit because the tenant failed to maintain the property per the lease agreement.

What is a Move-Out Inspection?
A move-out inspection involves walking through the property with the tenant to check for damage and issues with the property. Landlords will look around for signs of damage and compare them to normal wear and tear. It is important to take pictures before-and-after a move-in and move-out in order to show a tenant what damages you are seeing. Document the move-out in order to assist with any liability claims a tenant tries to file in the future if you do have to withhold the deposit.

When Should a Move-Out Inspection Occur?
A move-out inspection should occur at the end of a tenants lease. The inspection can take place on the date of the tenants move out, or within 3 days following the tenant moving out. Some landlords prefer to wait until the tenant has moved out with all of their belongings as it makes it easier to see what type of damage is left behind. Tenants do have the ability to repair the damage to the property and receive their security deposit back, but this varies in each state.

Clearly Communicate With a Tenant
It is important for landlords to give the tenant notice of the move-out inspection so the tenant has enough time to clean up and make repairs. Tenants may be under the impression they will receive the deposit, only to become upset when a landlord withholds it due to damage and repair needs. Clear communication allows the tenant time to make those fixes and be able to show landlords the property has been repaired and they deserve to have their deposit back.

Landlords can present the tenant with a list of repair and cleaning needs that will be deducted from their deposit following the move-out inspection. Offering the tenant some time to make those repairs does make it easier on the tenant, and maintains good relationships with the now-former tenant. Keeping past tenants positive helps to maintain a solid reputation as a fair and honest landlord. Working with a property management company is a wise idea if you are concerned about dealing with move-out inspections.

The Benefits of Move-Out Inspections
When working with a tenant on the move-out inspection, it is important to be patient, open, and honest with the tenant. Make sure you cite things that you agreed to allow such as letting the tenant paint the walls different colors, or allowing the tenant to have a pet. Move-out inspections do provide landlords and tenants with several benefits including:
Determining repair and remodel costs. Walking through the property gives you some insight into what needs to be repaired, or possibly remodeled in the future.
Reduce the risk of disputes. Working with a tenant on a move-out inspection allows you to reduce the risk of disputes with a tenant. You need to make them aware of what damage you do see, and let them know what deductions are taken from the security deposit to pay for those repairs. Tenants need to have clear communication from their landlord to know what to expect for their deposit return.
Tenant repairs the property. One thing some landlords do like is allowing the tenant to make the needed repairs so they can receive their security deposit.

Keyrenter Metro Property Management provides residential property management services to landlords of single family homes, duplexes, condos, and small multifamily units. We are not large apartment managers. Our purpose is to help landlords maximize the return on their investment property while eliminating the stressors associated with being a landlord (including bad tenants and maintenance issues).