How to Prepare for a Move Out Inspection

Moving is always a stressful time. On top of your normal duties like work, family and hobbies, you also have to find time deal with everything involved in moving! To help ease your stress a bit, here’s a short guide on how to prepare for a move out inspection.

Is a Move Out Inspection Required?

Not all states require one, although some do. For example, landlords in Alabama are not required to do a move out inspection by law, but they are in California.

If you live in an apartment, an inspection will almost always be performed- no matter what state you live in. If you’re in a home managed by a property management company or the landlord themselves, it’s hit or miss.

What if I Don’t Want an Inspection?

These inspections are meant to benefit both the landlord and the tenant. The tenant can benefit because if the landlord doesn’t find significant damages, they may get their security deposit back. And even if damages are found, the landlord can point them out and ask the tenant to fix them so the security deposit can still be returned.

The landlord benefits because they aren’t surprising the tenant with anything later. They are able to tell the tenant immediately if there are any issues. It also helps the landlord anticipate costs if they find things they’ll need to fix themselves.

Setting Up the Move Out Inspection

It’s generally best to set this up early in order to ensure that you find a time that works for both the property manager and the tenant. A general rule of thumb is that the move out inspection should happen at the end of your lease after the property has been vacated and properly cleaned.

What to Expect During a Move Out Inspection

The first thing the inspector will look for is that everything looks okay. Most rental properties will accept general wear and tear and will not fault you for things like routine maintenance. Things like major damages to the home, extremely dirty or stained carpets or an unkempt yard may result in the loss of the security deposit.

Make sure to read any documents from your property manager about move-out closely. Many landlords will provide renters with a basic list of things they need to have done or even a more detailed document about does and does not constitute daily wear and tear. As a tenant it is important to take photographs at move-in and keep a record of any maintenance requests or complaints that you make, this way there is a running record of the condition of the property.

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Justin Stowe


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By Justin Stowe

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