One of the most important documents that you will have to keep as both a landlord and a tenant is the move-in checklist. The only other document that holds the same level of importance is the lease agreement. So, it is a good thing to keep a copy of these two pieces of paper. In this article, we will tell you all about the move-in checklist for landlords and tenants. You will find information like what the move-in checklist consists of, how and when it should be completed, and what it is used for.

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Read also: New Tenant Checklist for Landlords.

What is a Move-In Checklist for Landlords and Tenants?

A move-in checklist is something that every tenant must complete upon moving into a new property. In it can be found a list of every room in the rental. The checklist is usually provided upon or before the new tenant moves in. Landlords tend to give new residents 72 hours to complete it.

Under each section for each room you may find any of the following items, depending on the type of room:

  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Carpets
  • Floors
  • Windows
  • Curtains
  • Light Fixtures
  • Outlets
  • Furniture
  • Doors
  • Fireplace
  • Refridgerator
  • Oven
  • Stove Top
  • Cabinets
  • Sink/Drain/Plumbing
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Dishwasher
  • Counter Surfaces
  • Pantry
  • Front/Back Doors
  • Mailbox
  • Heating System/AC
  • Smoke/Carbon Detectors
  • Stairs
  • Hallway
  • Storage Area
  • Lawn
  • Balcony/Deck/Patio
  • Parking Area/Garage

These items will be listed under the appropriate rooms such as living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, and so on. Next to each item on the list, you should find a section marked Condition Moving In. This is the bit that tenants need to complete within 72 hours of moving in, following the keymap provided either at the bottom or the top of the page.

Next to the Condition Moving In section should be the Condition Moving Out part. After the previous residents leave the rental, this section should be filled in by the landlord. If there is any damage beyond the usual wear and tear, or if the property is not of satisfactory hygiene, the landlord has the right to deduct this from the security deposit provided by the tenants. That is why it is important for tenants to make sure an end of tenancy clean has been conducted. It might be an idea to consider hiring professional cleaners for the job. This document should also contain the unit address and the date and time of filling in at the bottom of each section. Both the landlord and the tenant need to sign it. It is a good idea for both parties to keep a copy.

What is the Move-In Checklist Used for?

The move-in checklist exists to protect the landlord and the tenant. As we all know, the world is full of all kinds of people. This piece of paper holds a lot of power. That is why it is of extreme importance to revise it properly, no matter whether you are the tenant or the landlord, before signing it.

Why you may ask, we will give you an example: Say you are a new tenant. You have just moved in, you are excited, and you don’t pay much attention to the condition of the unit you have just begun living in. At first glance, all looks to be in order, and you mark it so on the checklist.

But a few days go by, and you notice that some piece of furniture isn’t actually in as good condition as you first imagined. Say, it has a discretely broken part. When the time comes to switch rentals again, you could end up having the repair costs deducted from your deposit if the landlord isn’t a reasonable person. In the same way, the tenant may use the move-in checklist against a landlord who isn’t careful.

For example, the previous tenant didn’t conduct a proper end of tenancy clean but managed to make enough of an effort to conceal that fact. They have, however, made a good impression on the landlord. So, trustingly, the landlord only takes a brief glance, everything seems to be in order. The landlord will then mark everything as satisfactory. But later, everything is bound to come out. However, courtesy of the move-out checklist, there is nothing the landlord can do to prove it.

The Importance of the Move-In Checklist for Landlords and Tenants

Now you may understand how important it is to be careful when completing a move-in checklist for landlords and tenants. Take your time with it. Give yourself a few days to look things over. Make sure everything is in order before signing anything. A move-in checklist is a legal document that could be the deciding factor in deposit deduction disputes. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, make sure you do it right. You don’t want to end up taking on expenses that aren’t your responsibility.

Check out also: Differences between End of Tenancy and Domestic Cleaning.