How to Conduct a Tenant Walk-through Inspection

As a landlord, you want to focus on rental upkeep in order to continue raising your property’s rental value and provide a habitable living space. Practicing property maintenance can motivate renters to take care of the unit, which can lead to minimal property damage and additional gains for the landlord.

Prioritizing the state of your rental property requires performing regular inspections, including tenant walk-through inspections. Here are the steps to conduct a proper tenant walk-through inspection:

1. Create a Form

To ensure you avoid forgetting any important details, it’s best to create a form. List the number of rooms in your property and the different areas of the unit. When listing a room, it should be separated into different elements, such as doors, windows, floors, walls, appliances, and furniture.

Leaving empty space is crucial when creating the form, as you’ll be writing detailed notes regarding the move-in condition, move-out condition, and estimated cleaning and repair charges.

Designate a space for your and your tenant’s signature. When the walk-through inspection is completed, each of you should sign it and write down the date.

Make sure to give a copy of the form to the renter so they can review it. If you need help creating the form, you could look for templates online, but it can be easily drafted on your own.

2. Schedule a Rental Property Visit Together

Person showing a couple and their child an unoccupied living space

Before the tenant moves in, coordinate your schedules and pick a convenient time to perform the tenant walk-through inspection.

This is crucial, as you want to ensure both of you are aware of the current rental state while inspecting each area and room of the layout. Doing so limits potential issues when the tenancy ends.

You should also discuss any property maintenance expectations with the renters. You can talk them through the standard of cleanliness you require, and let them know if you have any particular maintenance requests for your unit.

Directly addressing potential damages, both from wear and tear and beyond, is another important aspect of the inspection. Talk about the different kinds of damages and the occupant’s own liability so they may understand which repair fees could be deducted from their security deposit.

Although tenants don’t have to be present during the move-out walk-through inspection, they must attend move-in walk-through inspection.

3. Opt for a Simple Procedure

It’s recommended to keep the tenant walk-through inspection simple and straightforward to discourage renters from having second thoughts and backing out due to a complex process.

If a landlord covers small non-essential details, it can create pressure for the tenant to maintain the rental in its original form, which could lead them to reconsider their position. It’s important to remember that no rental home is flawless and thus refrain from being over-meticulous.

Focusing on minor details will also take up more of your time than it needs to. Conduct a brief but comprehensive walk-through inspection with your tenant, preferably in 20 minutes or under.

4. Maximize Images and Videos for Documenting

General shot of a white living room with tall windows looking out onto a city

Use your camera and/or smartphone when documenting a walk-through inspection. Take general shots of the rooms before capturing close-ups of damages.

Consider adding a date stamp to your photos to avoid potential disagreements about when the damage took place. Organize the photos and keep a digital copy for backup records.

Having images as supporting proof can reduce denials from renters, as they won’t be able to argue that new property damage occurred before their tenancy.

Some landlords might go a step further and record the full tenant walk-through on video. This is recommended, as long as you inform the tenant prior to recording, to avoid conflicts down the line.

5. Perform Property Checks before the Tenant’s Arrival

A walk-through inspection should be thorough. Landlords can benefit from testing utilities and appliances to note any potential concerns ahead of time, as opposed to having the tenant discover and report issues later on. This can create trust and set the foundation for a good landlord-tenant relationship.

Start by running all the appliances to ensure they’re in great working order. Assess the functionality of vital home systems. Flush toilets to check the water pressure. Evaluate the condition of the air conditioner and the heater. Make sure to open and close doors, windows, and blinds to coordinate repairs when needed.

When performing a walk-through inspection, make sure you’re on the same page with the renter in regard to the condition of the items in the rental.

Two people in a white kitchen looking at a black stovetop and its accompanying features

Paying attention is crucial to impress new renters and start off on a great foot. You don’t want to face issues when you’re still establishing trust with tenants; you want to reassure them that you’re focused on the upkeep of your rental unit.

6. Allot a Portion of Time for the Renter to Find Any Issues

It’s good practice to allow tenants a grace period when it comes to discovering property problems at the start of their lease. An acceptable period is three days.

It may happen that you overlook certain parts of the rental during the inspection and a resident brings up a valid concern. If this happens, make sure to document it with notes and pictures.

7. Remain Familiar with Landlord-Tenant Laws

It’s important that landlords review and respect Missouri rental laws, and conduct all walk-through inspections in accordance to set guidelines and regulations. Familiarize yourself with the stipulated rights and responsibilities and read up on specific issues like security deposits to avoid any potential legal issues.

Bottom Line

If you need help maintaining your property or conducting tenant walk-through inspections, you can engage the services of a reliable property management company to take care of your rental home. Contact Pro X Property Management today for solid industry experience and expert help!

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Pro X bought the apartments we lived in after only living there for around 6 months. My husband and I lived there around 3 years. Anytime something was broken they fixed it in a timely manner. I bought a home and just moved out, it took less than a week to get my deposit back from them. We left the house move in ready, and they gave me my full deposit back. They emailed me a packet of what to have cleaned to get my deposit back which helped a lot! Their receptionist was always very nice and patient, she always was so nice to me when I called. I had a good experience with them, soooo much better than my previous landlord. I heard negatives about Pro X, but in 3 years I never had a bad experience with them, I highly recommend them. I lived there for 3 years. I didn't have pets. Non-smokers. I used their list on how to get deposit back and made sure all of it was done. I hope all of this helps! Clean your place, don't leave it trashed, and use the packet they give you on how to clean your apartment and you will be fine!

Kim B.

For Rental Property Owners