In a perfect world, you’ll never have to worry about move-out inspections because your tenants will stay locked in their leases forever. But this is the real world, and renters moving out is a pretty common occurrence. Losing quality renters can be hard. But even worse is losing tenants who have damaged your property on their way out the door.
The best way to combat this rental property ownership reality is to incorporate move-out inspections within the first three days of the vacancy. Here’s what you should know about effectively performing these inspections and recouping some of those potential costs. It is another pivotal way to preserve your property’s condition as well as your bottom-line ROI.
The Official Business of Move-Out Inspections
Create an official document that outlines every aspect of your rental property to use as your inspection checklist. Wait until your tenants are moved out, too. You don’t want to walk through the property with them there, potentially hiding damage or masking odors. You’ll have a better view of baseboards, trim, and closets once the belongings are gone. Allow yourself plenty of time to move through the space with your list and your smartphone camera.
If you’re not sure that wall scratch was there before, take a picture anyway. You can always compare images with the move-in inspection or previous move-out inspection. Check that all the appliances work, all the faucets run properly, and all the doors function. Anything that seems to be inoperable should be added to your list with supporting images. Normal wear and tear will not apply. But significant stains on the carpet, holes in the wall, and broken windows will all present opportunities for you to recoup costs.
Don’t Tell Them They’re Getting the Deposit Back Until You’re Sure They Are
During those conversations with your tenants, don’t prematurely tell them they’re getting their deposit back. The point of a move-out inspection is to determine whether or not there are significant damages that, per your lease agreement, allow you to retain those deposits. Instead, tell the tenant you will notify them of the status of their deposit once you’ve completed your move-out inspection. No matter how wonderful those renters were, there’s still a chance they could cost you.
Communication Tips When Conducting & Presenting a Move-Out Inspection
Communication and transparency are paramount. Let your renters know about your move-out inspection process and timeline. Provide them with your list of areas to be inspected. And make sure they have a clear understanding of how you determine whether or not they recover their deposits. Having these conversations early will reduce the risk of disputes. It may also inspire tenants to fix problems before they leave.
When it comes time to present your official findings, document everything with photos of before and after conditions. Include repair and replacement estimates to justify your cost burdens. And offer more than one way to resolution, including keeping their deposits or renters paying you directly for damages. Do your best to obtain signatures, agreeing to the damages your move-out inspection discovered, should you need proof of acknowledgment later.
Let PMI Louisville Perform Move-Out Inspections for You
You already have enough responsibilities on your rental property owner plate. If move-in and move-out inspections are difficult to commit to, you might be ready to partner with a professional property manager. Let PMI Louisville help you with these time-sensitive tasks and ensure you’re able to recoup every available dollar between renters.
If you’re not currently performing move-out inspections or need help with setting up your process and paperwork, contact us!