When a tenant moves out of a property, it’s time for you to get inside and compare the current condition to the condition of the property before your tenant moved in. This will help you determine whether the tenants will receive their full security deposit refund, or if you’ll need to withhold some of it to pay for the tenant’s damages or cleaning that wasn’t taken care of before moving out.
With the move-out inspection process, there are a few key things that you must consider and a few specific guidelines we recommend you follow when it comes time for a tenant to move out of your Roseville property.
Documentation is Essential: Take Photos and Notes
One of the most important things you’ll do during a move-out inspection is to take pictures. You absolutely need to take photos of everything. This means you should have pictures of the sinks and the floors and the toilets and bathtubs. Photograph the inside of every closet and the ceiling. Don’t forget the appliances and the windows. Then, you can make notes to go with those photos, and your notes are also very important. They need to be detailed and specific. Write down anything you see so when you look back you can be reminded of what damages need to be repaired.
Compare the Property Condition
Your next step is to compare the photos and notes from your move-out inspection to the photos and notes that were collected during the move-in inspection. You can clearly see whether the property was returned to you in the same condition that the tenants accepted it. This is the best way to assess what the actual damages are; and you’ll know which repairs are the tenant’s responsibility and which are simply normal wear and tear.
Offer a Pre Move-Out Inspection
According to California law, you need to give the tenants an opportunity to go with you to the move-out inspection. They don’t have to accept the offer, but you must be willing to conduct a pre move-out inspection with them present. If they elect to participate, contact with them to schedule a time before they vacate. This will give them an idea of the damages they’ll be held responsible for fixing.
It’s important to remember that you cannot charge the tenants for normal wear and tear. Those things are a landlord’s responsibility. Carpets need to be replaced about every seven years and paint has a lifespan of about three years. You cannot charge the tenants for scuff marks and small nail holes in the walls. Those things occur no matter who is living in the property.
Returning the Security Deposit
With all of the information you’ve collected, you’ll have to determine whether the tenants will receive any of their security deposit back. It’s important to be fair. You don’t want to find yourself in court because of security deposit disputes. These situations don’t always end well for landlords, and if you’re found to have violated a security deposit law, it will be an expensive mistake.