When a tenant moves out of your rental property, you may be left with some general wear and tear and some damage, and it can be difficult establishing who is responsible for the repairs.
It is critical to document the condition of the property as thoroughly as you can before the tenant moves in. Make written notes, go through checklists and take many, many photos. At Residential Property Management in Portland, we like to use date stamped photographs. These work very well any time we need to refer back and compare how the tenants received the property as opposed to how they left it when they vacated.
It will make a big difference when your photographs are detailed and specific. Before giving your new renter a set of keys to the property, go through the home and take photos of everything, from the floor coverings in each room to each appliance. Take photos of how the stove and the fridge look inside and out. Get a shot of the carpet or flooring in each room, every window covering and every light fixture. Move in photos will document cleanliness as well, so include photos of sinks and tubs and shower stalls. Remember to document how the place looks on the outside too. You’ll want to remind the tenants of how the lawn and beds looked when they moved in.
This process is for your benefit as well as your tenant’s benefit. Most homes that tenants move into have been lived in before, and they may not be in perfect/new condition. If there is already a stain on the carpet or a scratch in the hardwood, photographs will document those imperfections. As a landlord, you never want to accidentally charge your tenants for damages they didn’t create.
At the end of the lease, when your tenant moves out of the property, you do another thorough inspection with the same detailed documentation. Pay attention to any damage you see that is not documented in your move-in photos. Anything that looks like something the tenants caused should be documented and photographed with a date stamp. When you charge a tenant’s security deposit for a repair you need to make, you’ll have those photos to share with the tenant if there are any questions about your process.
If you have any questions about documenting the condition of a home, or you need help setting up a move in and a move out process, please contact us at Residential Property Management, Inc. We’d be happy to help you.