Why a Move-in Property Condition Checklist is Important - Article Banner

A move-in property condition checklist is an essential tool for anyone who has tenants living in their investment property. This checklist will create a clear record of the condition of the rental property at the time when a tenant moves in. 

With a move-in property condition checklist, you’ll have a document that reflects property condition and ensures that you have the proof you need to back up any claims that are ultimately made against security deposits in case there’s damage at the end of the lease term. 

A property condition checklist also establishes a standard. You’ll expect to get the property back in the same condition (allowing for normal wear and tear). Your checklist and its supporting photographs will demonstrate how the home should be returned to you. 

Having an up-to-date and accurate move-in property condition checklist is key for rental property owners to ensure their rental properties remain well-maintained and in good condition.  By taking the time to use a move-in property condition checklist, you can drastically reduce the potential for disputes with tenants. You’ll also avoid any lack of clarity. 

Go over your move-in checklist with tenants. Let them add to it, if necessary. This is one of the best defenses you have against potential property damage and unnecessary out-of-pocket costs.

What Should You Include in Your Move-In Property Condition Checklist

First, let’s talk about what the move-in checklist is, exactly. A good checklist will keep you organized and remind you of the details that need to be included during your inspection as you prepare the property for your new residents. A move-in checklist can protect you from any blind spots. It will ensure you don’t forget to check the locks or the windows or the appliances. 

The purpose of this checklist is to determine the general condition of the property your tenants are moving into. It gives you an opportunity to document the condition of the property, and it gives your tenants a chance to share any clear and obvious damages or defects. 

This documentation is important so the right people are held accountable at the end of the lease term. 

On the checklist, include a line or a space to check off whether or not things are present and functioning. All the major systems and functions of the property must be included. Get detailed. Report the condition of floors, walls, ceilings, closets, windows, doors, and blinds. 

Once your tenants move in, let them spend some time with the checklist. They can mark whether each of these things are in good, fair, or poor condition. They can leave comments and include photos if they’re worried about the condition of something.  

Checklist Benefits for Philadelphia Landlords and Residents

The checklist ensures everything at the property is functional, clean, and move-in ready. 

No one wants to move into their new home only to have a hole in the ceiling or a stove that doesn’t work. You don’t want the heat to be malfunctioning on day one during a cold winter and you don’t want a sink that leaks all over the floor the first time your tenants use it. 

The move-in inspection verifies that all appliances work, the outlets provide electricity, and the sinks, toilets, and tubs provide water. You want windows and doors to lock properly. If you notice any problems during our move-in inspection, you want to have them fixed right away so the tenancy starts off on the right foot. 

Residents benefit from this checklist because it establishes that their home is ready for them. It also protects them at the end of the lease, against any issues or problems that pre-existed their residency. 

Landlords benefit because there’s a clear, objective report of what the home looked like. Every detail is captured, from the condition of the closets to the inside of the drawers and cabinets. This is for everyone’s protection. At the end of the lease term, when you are making decisions about security deposit returns, you’ll want to have a very clear idea of what falls under the definition of normal wear and tear and what looks like damage. 

Use the checklist. It keeps everything uniform and organized. 

Checking Off Cleanliness

Check CleanlinessThe checklist isn’t just about checking for maintenance issues and habitability. 

It’s also an opportunity to make sure the property is clean. 

A clean home is important, not only because tenants deserve to move into a property that’s free of dirt and debris but also because you expect to get the home returned in clean condition at the end of the lease term. Use your move-in condition checklist to confirm that floors, sinks, tubs, and toilets are free of dirt, debris, and dust. 

Hire professional cleaners to take care of every detail before the tenant moves in, and make sure your checklist reflects that all standards of cleanliness have been met. When your tenants are preparing to move out and you’re sending them move-out instructions, remind them that the home must be as clean as it was when they began renting the property. They will have this checklist as a guide in ensuring they leave the property in good condition when they leave. 

If you’re a landlord or rental property owner in Philadelphia or the surrounding areas, it’s important to make sure each new tenant has the information they need to move in. A great way to ensure this is by providing a move-in checklist. This document should include all of the necessary steps and items that your tenants will need to do and provide before they can move in. It will also document the condition and cleanliness of your property. 

Not sure where to get a checklist? We’d be happy to share ours. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at McSherry Property Management. We work with investors of all experience levels in the greater Philadelphia metro area as well as surrounding suburban areas in Montgomery, Chester, Burlington, and Delaware County, to the Delaware River.