Do you do a move out inspection WITH the tenant?

28 Replies

I usually have not. In the past when a couple people asked when we would do the walk through together after moving out, I declined because I don't want to have a debate with them, I compare the before pictures with the move in report against the current condition.

However, I'm wondering if it's not a bad idea to do it with this tenant. It gives me a chance to point out any outstanding items. The other day when I was there as they were cleaning out, I mentioned that I had noticed the fridge handle was gone. It had been removed for some reason and put in the freezer...these are two dentists mind you...not crack heads...still thought it strange but had they not pointed out that it was in the freezer I would have had to figured out a way to fix it. I had already searched high and low, Maytag discontinued making parts for this fairly young fridge...so I bought parts from the store to epoxy a handle to it. Had they not mentioned the handle was in the freezer, I would have done that instead of putting the original handle back on.

Also, since I do a move IN inspection with the tenant, I figured it might actually make sense to do a move OUT inspection with the tenant as well.
 


What say ye?

Not necessarily, preferably you and tenants.  Ultimately the lease should be specific about notifications and attempt to enter the property if is occupy.  Some tenants my have valuables in the house and you don't want to be in a position of something valuable (actual value or sentimental) missing.  Just a hint.  Never do an inspection alone or without their consent if they are occupying or have some stuff in it.  

You don't want to inspect until the property is empty and once the property is empty, the tenants aren't there either. 

In CA we have to give tenants the option of an "initial" inspection, which is a pre-move-out inspection.  If they say they want one, we do an inspection with them and give them a written list of everything they need to do to get their full deposit back.  The law wants the tenants to be able to get their full deposits back.  

I like this system, because it puts them in the position to choose to fix things or not, so there aren't surprises.  I didn't charge them for anything other than major damage, so there weren't fights over anything.  They know when it's obvious damage.  I never charged for normal wear and tear like holes in the walls from hanging pictures, and we didn't charge for repainting.  So, I think they would expect a fight, and then be pleasantly surprised I wasn't going to nickel and dime them over normal living stuff.

It's when tenants get surprised or blind-sided that they get angry enough to file a small claims court action, so I think doing a walk-through with them can work out great, if you're decent about it.

If the property is empty, feel free to do an inspection with them there. However, don't sign anything agreeing to the condition, and let the tenant know that you have 30 days to complete the inspection and any damage found that was missed with them there is still there responsibility.

Originally posted by @Andrew B. :

If the property is empty, feel free to do an inspection with them there. However, don't sign anything agreeing to the condition, and let the tenant know that you have 30 days to complete the inspection and any damage found that was missed with them there is still there responsibility.

30 days is state specific. Some don't allow that much time.

 

Originally posted by @John Teachout:
Originally posted by @Andrew B.:

If the property is empty, feel free to do an inspection with them there. However, don't sign anything agreeing to the condition, and let the tenant know that you have 30 days to complete the inspection and any damage found that was missed with them there is still there responsibility.


30 days is state specific. Some don't allow that much time.


 


 

Agreed, thank you. I forgot to post that disclaimer.

We do not.  WE take photos of everything that is problematic and go back to the office to compare the to the before photos. THis takes time, so there is no need to have tenant there at the time. 

WE do offer a quick pre-move-out visit where we let them know what we see that could get charged- cleanliness- we give a checklist of items to be cleaned. - light bulbs, holes in walls, etc.   but the detailed move out inspection happens without tenants, since we can't give answers at the time. 

When I receive a tenants 30 day notice to move out I then send them "move out instructions" according to how the home should be left upon move out (in accordance with the lease agreement).  I also set a "pre-move out walk through."  This way I can point out any potential security deposit deductions and set expectations.  I also remind the tenant that a fell assessment will not be done until they move out.  So if I do end up charging the tenant it will not be a surprise.  

Originally posted by @John Teachout :
Originally posted by @Andrew B.:

If the property is empty, feel free to do an inspection with them there. However, don't sign anything agreeing to the condition, and let the tenant know that you have 30 days to complete the inspection and any damage found that was missed with them there is still there responsibility.

30 days is state specific. Some don't allow that much time.

 

Here in WA we have 14 days.

 

Originally posted by @Mark Fries :

@Jack B.

In 7 years, 51 houses, probably 150 tenants and I have never did a move in or move out inspection....I guess different regions do things differently....lol

 How exactly do you document the condition of the property before move in and after move out? Seems risky not doing such inspections....here we are required to do them by LAW and provide a copy  of the property condition report upon move in TO the tenant otherwise we could be held liable for twice the deposit amount.

In any case I don't know why anyone would not do a move in/out inspection at all to document the condition of the property before and after...

Well, I'm closing on two properties tomorrow. One is a duplex. The landlord did not do an inspection or collect a security deposit. One tenant has been paying under market rent for the last 4 years.
The other property (2/1 sfr) has had the same tenant since the property was new in 2003. She's still paying the exact same rent 17 years later that she paid on move in. I just don't understand some people's thinking. Now I have to figure out how to get the rent up a bit without rocking the boat too much. I'd like to retain 2 of the three tenants as they've taken great care of the property but at current rents these properties won't cash flow. They're all on month to month. The one tenant has been rough on the property but with no inspection report, I can't hold her responsible for anything.

@Jack B. keep in mind that different states have different laws regarding this subject. Some states require the landlord do an inspection with the tenants present. 

We use a move-in / move-out checklist. It is extremely detailed. We also take video and photos. I usually do the final walk through by myself, but we do a courtesy pre-walk through if someone wants. Our goal is to return the entire deposit, we work with tenants to help make sure they return the property in appropriate condition. Of course sometimes there is deductions and in those cases we document any expenses with photos and receipts.

The goal is to get the property back in as good a condition as possible AND get the tenant all their $$ back.....

I don't do the move in or move out with the tenant, but if there is some difference in opinion, then I will meet them there and we can go over any concerns and review all the documents and pictures etc.
I'd rather hash out any issues right away, than get involved in some battle over emails and texts messages.

So being present is not standard but it can be if needed.

@Jack B.

Over the past 10 years, and a ton of tenants in and out, (I also do the before and after inspection for 30 properties of my clients), I’d say a good 8/10 don’t get their security back simply for the fact of missed rent here or there.

And those that do pay every month, and left the place reasonably clean and damage free, they get their security back. We don’t bicker over small stuff, it’s just not worth it.

@John Teachout I am in the EXACT same situation with an 8 plex. Same exact year and everything. Trying to tick rents up slowly. 2 tenants need to go, 2 are new, and the rest are decent. We shall see what happens. The people that have lived there since 03 have the place nasty. The previous owner was doing a horrible job.

Originally posted by @Ryan Proffit :

@John Teachout I am in the EXACT same situation with an 8 plex. Same exact year and everything. Trying to tick rents up slowly. 2 tenants need to go, 2 are new, and the rest are decent. We shall see what happens. The people that have lived there since 03 have the place nasty. The previous owner was doing a horrible job.

 Unless you're desperate for the cash flow, the units that haven't taken the best care could get jacked up to market price and maybe it'll cause them to move. In my case the one unit that has received a lower level of care is paying a higher rent as they've been there about a year so I don't know if I can raise that rent as it may be close to market. They're looking for a 3 bed unit so maybe they'll leave anyway. My plan for the other two tenants is to do a tiered increase. ie, your rent is going to go up $50 but it will be $25 in May and then another $25 increase 6 months later.

@John Teachout that was the original plan, then they paid late, we charged them $30.00 late fee. They had to borrow it from their son(lives on property in separate unit). Then before they paid us, they spent it, and had to Borrow it again. So soon, we are going to have to tell them to hit the road. It’s going to cost us probably 6-7000 to turn the unit. But they need to go.

I've done it a few times. I always send them the move-out checklist in advance so they know what needs cleaned. 

My list is a hybrid of the one Brandon Turner supplied on BP along with some additions. 

Originally posted by @John Teachout :
Originally posted by @Ryan Proffit:

@John Teachout I am in the EXACT same situation with an 8 plex. Same exact year and everything. Trying to tick rents up slowly. 2 tenants need to go, 2 are new, and the rest are decent. We shall see what happens. The people that have lived there since 03 have the place nasty. The previous owner was doing a horrible job.

 Unless you're desperate for the cash flow, the units that haven't taken the best care could get jacked up to market price and maybe it'll cause them to move. In my case the one unit that has received a lower level of care is paying a higher rent as they've been there about a year so I don't know if I can raise that rent as it may be close to market. They're looking for a 3 bed unit so maybe they'll leave anyway. My plan for the other two tenants is to do a tiered increase. ie, your rent is going to go up $50 but it will be $25 in May and then another $25 increase 6 months later.

 I'd recommend doing this one tenant at a time. When raising rents or buying new properties, I stagger them. This way not all my tenants are moving at the same time should they elect to do so. I'll also buy one house, get it rented, before I close on the other one. This way I'm not carrying multiple mortgages by myself at the same time. Stagger them boys...

Also, I used to not raise rent unless there was turnover. BIG mistake. I now raise rent. I left tens of thousands on the table by offering discounted rent in exchange for good behavior except in many cases they were not that great of a tenant after all...I raised rents on two units recently and that's an extra 4.2K a year for me. 3 trips to Vegas all expenses included. Of course I'm a miser and save it to invest again...lol

Highly recommend doing the move out inspection after the tenant fully vacates and doing it by yourself without them around. You have time to get them back their deposit so there is no need to rush. You want to document and take pictures. If they are there they will be hovering over you and you are more likely to miss things.