After securing your first lease, it’s time for you to do an inspection for any damage before you move in! This process protects you during your move-out and ensures you’re not charged for damage you didn’t create. During the inspection, you and your landlord will do a walk-through of the apartment before you move any items in, and you’re responsible for noting any imperfections that you see. That way, damage is on the record before you move in so you can’t be charged for the damage upon move-out.
To have a great inspection, keep an eye out for the items below and take picture and make notes of anything that doesn’t look right.
- Marks or holes in walls
- Peeling or damaged paint
- Damage to baseboards
- Spots on carpet or carpet peeling up
- Dings on hardwood flooring
- Issues with lighting or fans (broken, dinged, permanent spots)
- State of all electrical outlets (plates are secure, light switches aren’t damaged)
- State of all blinds (apartments will charge like crazy for damage to blinds!)
- Damage to sinks or cabinets
- Permanent spots on mirrors
- State of shower / bath
- Damaged tile
- Peeling grout
- Damage to sink or cabinets
- Damage to countertops (dings, stains)
- Damaged tile on backsplash
- Peeling grout
- Dings or marks on appliances
- State of appliances (brand new, clearly used, dirty, broken, etc.)
- State of pantry shelving
Patio or balcony:
- Damage to posts or railing (potential safety hazard)
- Stains or spots on balcony floor or on paint
- Test that all electrical outlets, light switches
- Test all electrical appliances, including all burners on the stove and oven
- Test water pressure and drainage in shower
- Test drainage in sinks
- Flush toilets
If something is damaged or not working properly, ask for the item to be fixed before you move in (and get that in writing!) or mark it on your inspection sheet. Remember, no issue is too small to include on your inspection sheet! You never know how strict your landlord will be during their move-out inspection, and you do not want to risk being charged for damage that was there before you moved in.
If you notice a ton of damage to the unit, consider trying to find something else if you’re not yet bound to the unit. Oftentimes, your list of issues will be very small – damage to a baseboard here and there – but always be vigilant.
While this inspection can put a damper on an otherwise exciting experience (pointing out every little flaw of your new apartment isn’t fun!), it will protect you and your bank account in the long run… so do not skip it! Take your time for best results!