How-to guide on how to do a move-in inspection
What are the important things to think of when doing an inspection on your own instead of contracting a letting agent?
1. Do not stress nor hurry! The responsibility of providing a correct and legally binding inspection report falls on you as a landlord. We have seen many move-ins and ensuing disagreements between tenants and landlords as a result of the move-in falling too early in order for all the preparation to be in place for a good hand over. So, if you think that your property will be ready after being emptied and cleaned, add 2-3 days to that for the lease to commence. Often something comes up to throw a wrench in the planning and it is a good idea to have some margin. The loss of rent for 2-3 days is minute comparatively to the fall out of not having a proper handover.
2. Do things in the right order! Read above again. An inspection shall not be done during or before a move-out cleaning. Nor can it be done after the tenant has moved in. When our letting agents do inspections, we insist on getting access to the property after the property has been cleaned and at least 24 hours before the hand over is to occur. The difficulty of having to navigate around a cleaning crew is a recipe for a challenging inspection process and it is too difficult to see what is what. It is also easy to mistake dirt for a permanent mark. Do not let your tenant move in and/or give them keys before the inspection report has been signed.
3. Document correctly! Many think that it is sufficient to cruise around and take a video or photos of the home, inventory and garden and then save it for a rainy day. Unfortunately, a much more thorough process is required in order to claim damages if there is wear and tear. A proper move-in inspection need to be in written form and may be supplemented with photos. The inspection also needs to be signed and dated by both the tenant and landlord on move-in day and you need to go through it together (takes 1-3 hours depending on the size of property). Both parties shall have a copy of the inspection.
We have been doing property inspections since 2003. Unfortunately, tenants and landlords seldom see wear and tear with the same eyes and perspective. Therefore, the better the inspection is, the less dispute and disagreement will occur at move-out. Every minute you spend on doing a proper inspection and not hurrying through the process will be well invested time and effort for you as a landlord.
Here you can read more about the legal ramifications are for not doing a move-in inspection.