Damage to a rental property can create conflict between a landlord and tenant, especially if the two disagree about who caused the damage. Whether you own a rental property or plan to live in one, making a renter's inspection worksheet part of the lease agreement process helps to protect everyone involved. A typical worksheet documents, both before move-in and after move-out, the condition of the following:

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Walls, Ceilings and Trim - Including dents, cracks and gouges, as well as the condition of paint, wallpaper and panels.

Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans - Including missing cords and issues with turning on or off.

Floors and Stairs - Including rips and stains on carpeting; cracks and chips in tiles; tears and marks on linoleum; and scratches, stains and damage to finish on hardwood. A renter's inspection also may note any pests present. If the previous tenant left behind fleas, for example, the landlord would need to address the issue. If discovered after move-in or after move-out, the current tenant may have to cover the cost of extermination per the rental lease agreement.

Windows and Screens - Including cracks and issues with opening, closing and locking windows, as well as any torn or missing screens.

Blinds and Shades - Including damage and issues with opening and closing.

Doors - Including damage and issues with opening, closing and locking.

Fireplace - Including damage/cleanliness and issues opening, closing and locking the flue.

Balcony and Patio - Including damage to walls, ceiling, floor and railings.

Kitchen - Including damage to and functionality of refrigerator, stove, oven, hood vent, dishwasher and garbage disposal, as well as sinks, drains, faucets, countertops, cabinet doors and drawers.

Bathroom(s) - Including damage to and functionality of shower, bathtub and toilet, as well as sinks, drains, faucets, countertops, cabinet doors and drawers.

Safety Measures - Including damage to and functionality of smoke alarms, sprinklers and carbon dioxide monitors.

Storage Space - Including damage to and issues with opening, closing and locking the door.

Garage - Including damage to walls, ceilings, trim and floors, as well as issues with opening, closing and locking doors.

Non-Living Spaces - Including damage to attic, basement and crawlspaces and issues with opening, closing and locking doors. A renter's inspection worksheet also may note the presence of mold caused by wet conditions, which may need to be addressed by the landlord before the tenant can move in and live in the rental property safely.

Other Exterior Areas - Including damage to steps, stoops, walkways and driveways if the tenant accepts maintenance of them in the lease agreement.

Landscaping - Including damage to lawn, trees and shrubbery if the tenant accepts maintenance of them in the lease agreement.

Pool and Hot Tub - Including damage to surfaces and equipment if the tenant accepts maintenance of them in the lease agreement.

Both the landlord and tenant typically complete and sign the renter's inspection worksheet before signing the residential lease agreement. That way, no confusion exists with either person as to the condition of the property. It also allows the tenant to request repairs in writing and set completion dates.

Tips to Make the Most of a Renter's Inspection Worksheet:

  • Go over the worksheet together during a walk-through both before move-in and after move-out.
  • Take photos of the condition of the rental property both before move-in and after move-out, getting detail shots of any damages.
  • Attach the signed worksheets to the signed rental lease agreements.

Making a renter's inspection worksheet part of the lease agreement process helps to protect everyone involved and keep fairness in play with regards to the tenant's security deposit. A landlord may not deduct normal wear and tear from a security deposit, but it can be used to pay for above-and-beyond damage to the rental property. If a conflict over damages escalates to a legal level, a signed renter's inspection worksheet, as well as signed residential lease agreements, may help you to quickly resolve the situation.

Get started Start Your Renter’s Inspection Answer some questions. We’ll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Renter’s Inspection Answer some questions. We’ll take care of the rest.