How to Help Your Tenants Pass Their Move-Out Inspection
Every skilled rental home investor knows that tenants can and should pass their move-out inspections. Sure, a little wear-and-tear is perfectly normal after a year or more of residence. But in reality, you want to give their security deposit back in full. You want them to pass the inspection with flying colors, with no major repairs or cleanup necessary after they depart. This means happy ex-tenants and an easy turnover process for you.
Your favorite tenants are rental pros. They do their move-in inspection thoroughly, they get every sock from every closet, and they’re polishing their way out the door. Star tenants like that often get all or most of their security deposit back, to the delight of both parties. But not all tenants are so attentive. How can you help your young, inexperienced, or absent-minded tenants pass their move-out inspections to everyone’s benefit?
As experienced property managers, Leaf Management can share a few helpful tips to achieve this lofty dream.
Walk New Tenants Through the Move-In Inspection
When new tenants move in, walk them through their own move-in inspection. This is especially helpful for young adults. College-age tenants might be renting their first real house or apartment. They may have never done a move-in inspection before. Showing tenants the checklist and how to take quick phone pictures that correspond with the list can be really helpful, and create that essential move-in condition record of the house that benefits both parties.
New tenants can quickly learn how to take notes. Show you are on their side by explaining how any flaws documented on move-in day are, by definition, not their responsibility when they move out. This will encourage really thorough note-taking and photos for a high-quality move-in inspection.
Emphasize Security Deposit Terms in the Lease
Tenants want their security deposit back when they move out, and you want to give it to them. To do that, they need to understand their duty to take good care of the house and repair – or responsibly request repairs – for any damage that occurs.
Show tenants the specific terms in the lease regarding their security deposit and consider using bold type in the document. Give tenants every chance to understand how they can secure their security deposits by maintaining the house, avoiding unnecessary damage, and reporting any serious problems immediately for repairs.
Tenants who really care about their security deposits will usually pay attention and take the necessary steps.
Mention Repairs in Annual and 6-Month Inspections
Most landlords or their property management teams conduct inspections every 6 to 12 months. When this happens, keep an eye out for scuffs, damage, or signs of other property issues. If you spot something, point it out to the tenant. If it’s their responsibility, provide some tips on how to spackle and touch up wall paint, or offer to send over a repair service if it’s a landlord-side issue.
Mention the duty of care and casually inject the idea of maintaining the tenant’s security deposit return status if they take care of these little matters promptly. Sometimes, a friendly reminder of what can be gained from responsive repairs is all it takes.
When Tenants Plan to Go, Remind Them to Prepare for the Move-Out Inspection
When tenants let you know that they will be moving out soon, begin steps to help them complete their move-out inspection and, hopefully, get their security deposit back.
During the conversation or email exchange, remind tenants that their move-out calendar is also a countdown to their move-out inspection. Provide a friendly reminder that now is the perfect time to finish or request any repairs so the house is in good condition when they leave.
Email Tenants a Copy of the Move-Out Inspection Form
Help out your tenants in completing the paperwork half of the move-out inspection. Email them a digital copy – ideally an editable PDF – so that they can get started inspecting and repairing any damage they find as they go down the list.
Tenants can then print out the inspection form as they load up the last of their boxes and may even complete the move-out inspection with detailed notes and photos. Some will, some won’t But that email can make the difference.
Provide an Inspection Phone App for Easy Snapshot Documentation
You might consider upgrading your move-in / move-out inspection tech level. There are now pretty useful home inspection apps that make it easy to tap in notes using the phone softkey and even instantly attach photographs taken with the phone camera.
For today’s tech-savvy tenants, especially young adult tenants in Gen Z, a phone app can increase the ease of inspection and the chance that they will actually conduct the entire move-in / move-out inspection process.
Schedule a Pre-Move-Out Walkthrough with Repair Reminders
You can even take personal steps to help tenants realize issues they have overlooked with time enough to schedule last-minute repairs. Do a walkthrough with tenants as they are packing to leave and point out any issues that might affect their move-out inspection. Show them a comparison to their move-in inspection photos and provide a few tips for effective or affordable repairs before move-out day.
Emphasize the Security Deposit Opportunity
Finally, re-emphasize to tenants that they could get their security deposits back – in part or in full – based on how well their move-out inspection status matches their move-in inspection notes and photos. Anyone thinking about their moving budget and how nice that security deposit could be during their move is likely to take steps to spruce up the place and take good photos to improve their finances while moving in to the new place.
Improve Your Tenant Turnover Process with Leaf Management
Tenant turnover is notoriously the most challenging aspect of rental home investment. Not only would you like to find clean and well-maintained spaces so you can send those security deposits back, but you also need to tackle repainting, re-marketing, and screening for new tenants within few short months. With a skilled property management service like Leaf Management, we can not only help set your tenants up for move-out success, but also streamline the entire turnover process.