Why Move-in Inspections Matter

You’ve picked out a great apartment, signed the paperwork, and now you’re ready to move in. But wait! Before you move into your new house or apartment you need to perform a move-in inspection. Move-in inspections are a small, but very important, step in making sure you are able to get your security deposit back. A move in inspection allows you and the landlord to have a record of the condition of the property when the lease began so that damages caused by the tenant can be easily determined when you move out.

Choose Move-in Inspections Now or Pay Later

The most common ground for withholding a security deposit is damage to the unit caused by the tenant.  Having a proper move in inspection allows you to show that some of the alleged damage was already in the unit when you moved in.

Some landlords are required by law to perform a move in inspection, some are not. But regardless you should insist on one before you move into the house or apartment. The move-in inspection should be in writing and go room by room and note any damage. Nothing is too small; if there is a small hole in the wall, note it. If there is a cracked floor tile, note it. This might take a while, but remember that everything you note on the move in inspection now is something you cannot be charged for later. Be thorough and be precise. When the inspection is complete you and the landlord should sign it and you should each get a copy.

Move-in Inspection Proof

It’s a good idea to take pictures or videos with a landlord during s move-in inspections. A video is not a replacement for written move-in inspections, but it is a good supplement. Don’t be sneaky about taking the video; let the landlord know you are taking it.

Sometimes landlords will not perform move-in inspections or will say something like, “We’ll do it tomorrow,” and then not show up. If this happens to you, email the landlord and ask them to come perform the inspection with you. If they still won’t come out you can perform your own move-in inspection and email the inspection and pictures to the landlord. It can be a lot of work and the last thing you want to do on move in day, but it will protect you when you move out.