Tenant didn't sign move-out checklist but...

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Short version of long story: tenants purchased their own house in March but stayed in my SFH while they renovated their place. Lease was to expire June 25th. Skipping over the details, they requested a month's extension and the final "vacate premises" date/time was set for 9 a.m. Monday, July 25th. I made it clear by text, email, and follow-up letter that no further extension was possible and tenant acknowledged that by return text and email.

Early in July I emailed reminders and included the Move-Out Notice, Key Return Receipt, and a courtesy copy of their initial Move-In/Move-Out Checklist. The notice clearly stated “We have signed the completed Move-Out Checklist” and the tenants did sign that notice on the 25th before returning the keys. What they did NOT do, however, was complete or sign the Move-Out Checklist.

The house was superficially cleaned. Maybe they were hoping I wouldn’t notice the bad smell permeating the house, or the unauthorized changes to the shower fixtures, missing closet shelves, mold/mildew on window sills and frames, filthy oven (all contrary to Lease), and also cigarette butts and dog waste outside (both required to be disposed of daily per the Lease)….well, you get the point. I took pictures of everything, and have a professional cleaner coming in, plus a pro to tackle the carpeting.

My question: how do I handle the fact that they didn’t complete the Move-Out Checklist? Previously I’d told them (in writing) that the Landlord or Agent “will inspect the premises after the final day of the Lease and that a copy of the inspection report within one week.” Do I note on that form that tenants didn’t complete or sign the form?

This could become an issue when I follow up by documenting the cleaning, repairs, etc. that will be deducted from their security deposit. The tenant tried to toss a lawyer friend of his at me on move-out date, complaining I was being “unreasonable” and forcing him out of his home. I fully expect him to whine bitterly that I didn’t remind him to complete the checklist and that I didn’t tell him there were problems. (Note there’s no requirement to do so in AR that I’ve found).

Ideas? Suggestions?

I give the tenants a date and time to do the move out walk thru .  Most wont sign a check list saying there are damages .I just take pictures and tell them they will be sent the security deposit .  The last tenant didnt show up , she wanted to reschedule , I told her she has 30 days notice of the date , sorry thats the day and time .( I only have 5 days after move out )