I am a newbie landlord and am renting out my first property. Had a showing yesterday and the lady noticed a loose cabinet door in the kitchen and stain
on a small portion of the ceiling. She wanted to make sure that she wouldn't be charged for it when the lease ends. How do I legally document
the current state of the house (I have made several upgrades such as granite countertops, refinished hardwood etc) and protect both of us when the lease
expires and I have to refund the deposit?
Thanks in advance
move in/move out condition report. signed by both you and tenant. it should explain what condition everything is in when lease begins. if something is new, state it. if something is broken, state it. also, take more photos and video than you think is necessary. if tenant disputes a security deposit deduction, you need proof of original condition. my philosophy is "if its not in writing, it didn't happen." if you have no proof of condition upon move in, you cannot charge tenant for it.
I'd agree with @Andrew Boettcher , make sure you document everything. If it's broken when the tenant moves in, you shouldn't charge them for it, but if it isn't, they should definitely get a charge for it. It's hard to go overboard on move-in photos or videos, so the more documentation you have, the better. I would also share any documentation you have with your tenant. If you have pictures or videos you took, upload them to a google drive account or something similar and share them with the tenant. When it comes time to move out, if the tenant knows you have documentation that everything was perfect when they moved in, they'll be less likely to dispute any security deposit deductions, if there are any.
Thanks Andrew and John.
Where can I find a template for the move in condition report? Do I need to print the pictures out and get them signed by the tenant as well?
I use https://communityrentals.ucsc.edu/pdf/rental-condition-checklist.pdf for a checklist. If you want the tenant to acknowledge pictures you could try Docusign or another similar program.
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