Table of Contents Hide
- Why Landlords Conduct the Inspections
- The Checkout Process Step-By-Step
- Reviewing Your Original Inventory
- What’s Inspected During the Final Walkthrough
- Final Steps After Inspection
- Preparing for Inspection
- What Landlords Want to See
- In Summary
You’re finally moving out of your rental property and heading towards new horizons! But before you fully close this chapter, there’s the final matter of the end-of-tenancy inspection to wrap up. As a tenant, end of tenancy cleaning and having your rental unit in good shape for this inspection is crucial – not only for getting your deposit back, but also leaving on good terms with your landlord.
As you prepare to hand over the keys, you may be wondering – what exactly are landlords looking for in these last reviews? What should you spend time on fixing or upgrading before the final walkthrough? Understanding their perspective can help you prepare your rental for a smooth inspection process.
Why Landlords Conduct the Inspections
Before you get into the details, it helps to understand why landlords even bother with end of tenancy inspections in the first place. For them, it’s not about nitpicking every dust bunny – there are three main motivations:
Assess Damages and Repairs Needed
First, landlords use the final inspection to catalog any damages that may have happened during the tenancy period. This includes things like stained carpets, broken appliances, holes in the wall – anything that deteriorates the condition of the rental. They’ll compare it to your original inventory check and see what requires repairs or replacements before new tenants move in.
Check Cleanliness is Up to Par
Landlords also want to ensure the property is cleaned thoroughly from top to bottom when you move out. This means going beyond your usual sweeping and tidying to give every nook and cranny a proper scrub. Kitchens and bathrooms should look sparkling new. A dirty rental isn’t appealing for future tenants.
Prepare for Next Occupants
Finally, landlords use the turnover between occupants to upgrade or refresh the space. They may fix nagging issues, replace worn amenities, install new floors – anything to entice the next renters. The final inspection gives them a repair checklist. A smooth handover also ensures consistent rental income.
The Checkout Process Step-By-Step
Now that you know why your landlord is keen on a last inspection, it’s time to walk through what actually happens. It’s a fairly straightforward sequence.
Providing Sufficient Notice
First, landlords require notice that you plan to vacate so they can prepare for the changeover. Check your tenancy agreement’s clauses on proper notice periods – usually around 30 days. This gives the owner time to list the unit and schedule viewings.
Once you announce your departure, confirm your exact end date in writing. Reconfirm the date as you get closer to turning over the keys. Clear communication avoids misunderstandings.
Reviewing Your Original Inventory
A key reference document for the inspection is your inventory check from when you first moved in. This cataloged the rental’s original condition room-by-room along with any furnishings or equipment included.
Your landlord will use this to compare to the property’s end state. Significant discrepancies in cleanliness or damages would give them grounds for withholding a deposit refund. Having your copy on hand helps you dispute any unfair claims.
What’s Inspected During the Final Walkthrough
When inspection day finally comes, your landlord will go through the unit with a fine-tooth comb. Here are some of the key areas and aspects closely reviewed:
The landlord or rental agent will start in one room and progress through the entire property methodically. This includes interior living spaces and outdoor areas like decks, balconies, and gardens. For each room, they check:
Cleanliness – Floors mopped and vacuumed, surfaces dust-free, tiles scrubbed, no grimy buildup
Damages – Holes in walls, cracked tiles, leaky pipes, broken fixtures, etc. Anything broken by improper use or negligence
Repairs Needed – Light bulbs out, squeaky hinges, flaky paint, dysfunctional appliances – maintenance issues you didn’t address
If an issue comes up, discuss it immediately with your landlord rather than wait for the final report. You may be able to remedy problems on the spot rather than lose deposit funds later.
Your landlord will turn on all electrical appliances and mechanical equipment included with the rental to test functionality. This includes:
Kitchen Appliances – The oven, stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, and any small appliances need to be in working order without faults
Laundry Equipment – Any washers, dryers or venting kits supplied should run through cycles without issue
Electronics – TVs, sound systems, alarm systems, and smart gadgets will be switched on to test screens, buttons, remotes, settings, etc.
If you performed standard maintenance while living in the property, appliances should operate smoothly during inspection. However, expect your landlord to thoroughly investigate any previous issues flagged.
If your rental comes fully or partly furnished, your landlord will check that all included furniture remains in good shape without broken parts, deep scratches, or permanent staining. This could include:
- Beds, headboards, bed frames
- Dining sets
- Coffee tables, TV units
- Desks, bookshelves
- Sofas, lounge chairs
- Bar stools
- Outdoor patio sets
Normal wear and tear is acceptable, but mistreatment or negligence will raise red flags for deposit deductions. Before check-out, thoroughly inspect beds, couches and chairs for spills or stains; wood surfaces for chips and scratches; fabric for tears. Repair or replace damaged pieces.
While indoors tends to get focus for end of tenancy cleaning, landlords also check patios, balconies, gardens and any exterior aspects of the property. Outdoors areas should be swept clean of leaves, dirt and debris with outdoor furniture cleaned and intact. Gardens should be trimmed and tidy with trash bins emptied. A freshly swept deck or patio surrounded by neat landscaping creates a welcoming first impression for rental viewings. Don’t let outdoor areas drag down your final inspection.
As the landlord completes the inspection, discuss any concerns that come up immediately. Damage not caused by improper use may be considered reasonable wear and tear – clarify causes honestly with your landlord.
For identified cleaning or repairs you could reasonably address in the final days, offer to complete them before fully moving out. A bit of elbow grease demonstrating your good faith as a tenant can help ensure you get your full deposit refunded.
Finally, expect your landlord or rental agent to take extensive photos documenting the unit’s end condition. They provide evidence if deposit disputes arise later on. Ask for copies of the photos to match against your original inventory. Having your own visual record gives peace of mind and supports your claims.
Final Steps After Inspection
The final processes after completing the property review include deposit accounting, repairs as needed, plus general unit upgrades and marketing to attract new tenants.
Checkout Condition Report
A few days after the walkthrough, your landlord will compile their evaluation into an official end of tenancy checkout report. This outlines:
- Overall condition vs original inventory
- Any damages attributed to the tenant
- Repairs and replacements required
- General maintenance recommendations
- Estimated deposit refund or deductions
The checkout report provides substantial justification for the landlord retaining any portion of your deposit. Make sure to obtain a copy as soon as available and review carefully.
Settling Your Rental Deposit
When moving out, tenants hope to get their full security deposit back, but conflicts can arise. Landlords may try to make unfair deductions without proper documentation. However, most states require documented proof of damages before keeping deposit money. If tenants dispute proposed deductions, they can provide additional evidence like photos or repair estimates to support their case.
Clear communication is key to resolving disagreements. Still, some landlords illegally withhold deposits regardless. Having an objective inventory clerk document conditions early on helps tenants avoid these drawn-out fights. Ultimately, if disagreements can’t be resolved cooperatively, small claims courts can intercede. In all cases though, by law landlords must return any undisputed portion of the deposit within 30 days after the lease ends.
Repairs and Improvements
Landlords use the time between tenants to complete overdue repairs and refresh rental properties. Common updates when rentals are vacant may include replacing broken or outdated appliances, modifying floor plans, replacing carpets or floors, repainting, deep cleaning HVAC systems, and landscaping. General property maintenance keeps the long-term value of the rental investment. The original occupancy and final inspections give landlords a repair checklist.
Preparing for Inspection
Re-read original inventory to know expected cleanliness, damages and repairs. Create checklists to budget workload room-by-room. Hire cleaners for deep scrubbing. Bring a handyman for repairs beyond your expertise. Take before-and-after photos as proof you fixed issues. Confirm final utility readings. Touch up paint and repairs to give a fresh feel. Leave buffer days to handle last minute issues.
What Landlords Want to See
Landlords want a clean, undamaged, move-in ready unit. Clean walls, floors – vacuum, mop, remove dust and cobwebs. Sparkling bathrooms – scrub tiles, shine fixtures, clear drains, disinfect surfaces. Spotless kitchen – degrease appliances, organize cabinets, sanitize sinks and counters. Fix any scuffs and peeling paint. Confirm functioning fixtures with no faults – lights, outlets, detectors.
Scan infrastructure to ensure no leaks or holes needing repair. Lubricate sticky locks and ensure proper key handover. Neat outdoor areas with furniture intact, equipment properly stowed. Effort to scrub every corner shows responsibility as a long-term tenant. Attending to the details makes inspection and repairs smooth.
End of tenancy inspections, if courteous and organized for both tenant and landlord, don’t have to be stressful farewell affairs. Understanding what landlords look for when checking rental condition after moving out helps you prepare the property appropriately.
With reasonable care and cleaning, you should get your full deposit returned. And your landlord has their secure asset back ready for upgrades and qualified tenants. Leaving on polite terms builds goodwill for receiving references or renting again in the future.