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move in checklist

Move-In Checklist: Key Documents to Give Tenants on Day One

As a landlord or property manager, you may be relieved that your search for the perfect tenant is over, but there is still work to be done. With the Lease Agreement signed and move-in date set, now you’ll need to turn your attention to welcoming your new tenant to the property. Here are a few suggested documents that you’ll need to start your landlord-tenant relationship off right.

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What documents should I provide to a tenant at or before move-in?

In addition to providing each signer a copy of the Lease Agreement, you may need to provide the following additional documents to meet legal requirements or otherwise get the tenancy off to a good start.

Security Deposit Receipt

While some states may not require that landlords or property managers provide a Security Deposit Receipt, it can be a good practice to follow in order to have documentation that the funds were received. In some places, landlords are not only required to provide a receipt, but they also must include details on where the funds will be stored. Security deposit laws can vary by state and locality, so it is important to talk to a lawyer if you are unsure about the rules that apply to your property.

Rent Receipt

Some states require that tenants receive a Rent Receipt for the first month and every month afterward. Even if it isn’t required by law, keeping track of rent payments is always a good idea. If you make a Rent Receipt and provide a copy to your tenant, you’ll both have proof of payment in case a dispute arises.

Welcome Letter

A friendly welcome can go a long way to making your tenants feel at home. With a Welcome Letter, you’ll not only be able to remind new tenants about the key terms of their lease, but you’ll also have the opportunity to provide pointers about trash and recycling days, or pre-empt other common questions that might arise.

Maintenance Request

Hopefully you’ve cleaned the unit and made necessary updates prior to move-in day, but just in case a repair is needed later, your tenant will be well-prepared to contact you with a Maintenance Request Form.

Move-In Checklist

Perhaps the most essential of all documents for a tenant’s first day, the Move-In Checklist gives your renter the opportunity to walk through their new home and notate the condition of the unit, along with any pre-existing damage. When it comes time to move out, this will help to ensure that both parties are on the same page regarding any potential deductions. Also called a Renter’s Inspection Worksheet, this type of document is required in many states, and can be paired with a Welcome Letter or distributed separately.

What should a Move-In Checklist include?

A typical Move-In Checklist will cover the inspection of key features and furnishings in each room of the rental unit. For example, in the kitchen, it might allow tenants to comment on any perceived damage or unsatisfactory condition of the countertops, cabinets, microwave, refrigerator, sink, and stove/oven—in addition to features common across all rooms, like windows and doors, floors and ceilings, or lights and electrical outlets.

Ask a lawyer

Landlord-tenant laws can vary by state or municipality, so be sure to understand the local guidelines that apply to your rental property. Check out our complete set of resources for landlords, or if you have specific questions and would like to have your property management documents reviewed, ask a lawyer.

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