- What is a walk through? Usually it is the tenant walking the house/apartment before they move in and after. Are they important? Yes, they are. Also, they are annoying and never at a good time. Usually they come at the end of the month where you are trying to get other people into other units and must divide your time between the two. The first of the six issues is the inspection sheet.
The inspection sheet is very important. But how do you do one when the tenant is still in there, and the new tenant has signed their lease and won’t be back to your office or can’t meet. It is very important to have one and DO NOT LEAVE IT UP TO THE TENANT TO BRING IT BACK. So, what do you do? What I would suggest is to have 2 move in sheets. One marked with all “OK’s”, and have them sign it. Let them know that this will be destroyed when the other one you give them gets filled out and returned. If you ever need to go to court this paper will play a vital role on the outcome of your issue, being of course the security deposit.
- Inspection 1. Usually this inspection is done when the other tenant moves out. Recently I had the opportunity to look at the old tenant’s place after he moved out. He hired a professional cleaner. Once they give their keys back, NEVER allow them back in. The contract is over and it is time to get it ready for the next one. In this particular case, the place looked great. There are a couple of places I will look first. If these are dirty, then I will hire someone to finish what was started. The stove is one of these places. I pull it out and look behind and on the sides. In his case it was dirty, despite the “professional” cleaning service. 2nd, the refrigerator. If it has an Ice maker and has a filter, I will assume it has not been changed if I have no receipt. Furnace filters are always overlooked as well. Finally, the carpet in the stairs had not been cleaned per contract.
All in all I would say this tenant was great, but not perfect. No one is. It is our job to ensure that the owner’s property is taken care of and that the next tenant has a clean place. So now I know what it looks like and when I get the inspection 2 in I have something to compare it to.
- Inspection 2. So, now we have the first inspection out of the way, let’s move on to the second one. Usually this one I will meet the new tenant and go over this with them if I can. I still do what I mentioned above, but like a rental listing, until you have the money there is no “done” deal. In this particular case, having a tenant in the room with you is not a problem. It is very much a problem when they move out. They will stand on stains while you are looking, they will try and get your attention to other things while you are looking at issues. It is the best practice to do a move in with the new tenant and not with the outgoing. In the end, you the owner, or property manager will know what is there and what is not. You put your notes in a file and save them for the next time. Kind of like wash, lather, and repeat.
- Paperwork would be the next thing to come out of this. It is very important for you to email the tenant and request the move in if they have not brought it back. Keep this for your records for later. As a side note, records keeping various in different states on how long you keep things. Abide by your state laws and you will not have any issues. If your states says 3 years, then when the fourth year comes throw them out. There is no reason to keep them. Well, what about… If you abide by the law you will be fine. Again, if you want to keep them, then do. I have found no reason to keep anything longer than you should. Never have I had the occasion to go back further than 2 years. Of course stuff like warranty issues you should keep, but regular leases and the like should be discarded after the time that is required.
- Work Orders need to be done as soon as they come in afterwards. This is something you should keep in mind. I had a house full of women move into a house. For me, this meant a lot of hair. As I explained to them, any clogs due to hair the first 3 to four months I would take care of and after that, they would be responsible. It is only fair that the new tenants do not get charged for the old tenant issues. Kind of like the last person to touch the doorknob and it falls off and they get blamed.
- Finally, Pictures. Should I take pictures of the house? Yes, is my answer. It never hurts to have pictures. However, we had a issue a while ago where the tenant swears there was only 1 garage remote. However, on her move in sheet she put 2. So would a picture of the remote help? Does that prove there were 2? Or 1? Pictures alone are not a safe practice. Both should be done. Video would even be better, with commentary such as: date and time, this is the living room, notice the scratches here and there. I know some apartments that hold up a card with the unit number, the date and time and take a picture. Apartments are different in that there can be 15 apartments and they all are the same. So why not take a picture of the non-damaged wall? I am not saying anyone would do that, but the temptation is there. Just be Organized.
Thank you for letting me share with you today. I hope to see you soon. We are going to start video blogging as well. Might as well take my own advise as well. Till next time.