As a landlord or property manager, the move-in process can be a little tricky at times. Sometimes unique circumstances create a move-in that strays from the usual, but that may cause certain difficulties at the end of the lease. No matter how friendly your new tenants seem, it's always safer to follow regulations at the beginning of each and every lease. This way, you can avoid any surprise issues at move-out. The best way to protect yourself as well as your tenants is to use a move-in checklist.
Before tenants move in, it is standard to take them on a move-in inspection so that both of you are able to check out the amenities and quality of the unit together. We've found it useful to create a list for your client, so that you both can agree on which items do or not have previous damage. In some cases, it's useful to have your tenant individually rate the quality of blinds, countertops, window locks, etc. It may seem redundant, but you'll definitely be happy you have a form of documentation should any disagreement occur toward the end of the lease. Clients also seem to take comfort in having that written document.
Have your tenants return the inspection list with the rest of their lease paperwork. That way, the inspection is officially documented at the time of move-in. In your lease paperwork, you'll also want to clear up any policies that typically cause disagreements between landlords and tenants. This may include:
- • Pet and pet fee policies
- • Forms of payment accepted
- • Putting gas and electric bills in their name
- • Getting mail
- • Renter's insurance
Include these policies and procedures in the form of a checklist, so that you can get clear, visual confirmation that your tenant understands them. Listing them in addition to the lease agreement ensures that your client will read them rather initialing and skipping them over.
Documentation is Key
Putting in this extra time will save you many headaches further down the road. Even the best tenant screening strategy will not stop anyone from taking advantage of a lack of documentation. The checklist is a great way to put everything on the table in a friendly, open manner. For more information on improving the move-in process, read this article by Zillow. Better yet, hire a property management company to take care of the process for you.