Free Move-in / Move-out Checklists – Landlord – Tenant

A move-in/move-out checklist is an essential document that allows a tenant and landlord to sign off on any damages with ease at the beginning of a lease agreement and when it ends.

It contains a list of essential areas of the house to be checked for possible damages or repair needs.

As a new tenant looking to move into a new apartment or a landlord preparing to move out a tenant, this checklist comes in handy. It allows new tenants to highlight pre-existing repair needs in a building. In contrast, it helps the landlord identify any added damages that an existing tenant may have caused during their stay. It also helps prevent possible disputes over security deposits and ensures both parties know what’s expected of them. It can be substantial proof in the event of a future dispute.

Beyond this, having a checklist also helps make moving in or moving out easier. It aids in better organization of your belongings, reduces stress, enables you to keep proper track of your belongings, and acts as a good memory aid.

Free Templates

Landlord-Tenant Move-In Checklist Template 01 - Customizable - Word File

International Moving Checklist Template 02 - Editable - Word

Moving Checklist Template 03 - Personalizable - Word File

House Moving Checklist & Contact-List Template 04 - Modifiable - Word File

Sample Move-Out Checklist 05 - Editable - Word File

Moving Checklist for Basic Move Template 06 - Editable - Excel File

College Moving Checklist Template 07 - Modifiable - Excel File

Moving Checklist Template 08 - Customizable - Excel File

Moving Checklist Template 09 - Editable - Excel

Moving Checklist Template 10 - Modifiable - Excel

    What Should Be Included in the List

    With the importance of establishing a move-in/move-out checklist achieved, now it’s only right to know how to create one for yourself, either as a tenant or a landlord. This is why you need to know the basic things required to be on your checklist.

    Below is the ‌accepted way of structuring your checklist and things to include in it:

    Section A: Property information

    In this section, you’re required to provide detailed information that can help describe and identify the house, even without seeing it.

    This information includes:

    Property’s name and address

    As a tenant, your checklist should have the correct address of the property. You can also include the name if there are any.

    Resident’s name

    The resident’s name is vital for every landlord. This helps indicate that the document is meant for a specific tenant, thereby preventing mix-ups.

    Apartment number

    All information that aids the property description should be contained in the first section, and the apartment number is one such piece of information. Carefully mention it.

    Unit size

    The unit size also aids the property description and should be included in it.

    Move-in inspection date

    Move-in inspection is a visitation to the property prior to moving in. This visit aims to assess the building and highlight any pre-existing damages or other deficiencies which the tenant can demand to be fixed before moving in.

    Recording the date gives you a record to reference that the inspection was done, and some repair needs to be done as of that date.

    Move-out inspection date

    When an old tenant informs a landlord about moving out at the end of a rental agreement, the landlord must inspect the property to ensure it’s in the same state in which it rented it out. Any highlighted damage or repair needs that were non-existent during move-in will be taken care of with part of the tenant’s security deposit.

    Recording the move-out inspection date as a landlord gives you an updated record of the state of your property.

    Section B: House areas and items to be inspected

    This section should contain information about the essential areas of the property and items to be checked.

    You can grade these areas based on their state and the kind of repair they need, using a denotation of your choice—e.g., NC for Not clean, B for broken, etc.

    Below are essential house areas and items to include in the checklist:

    Bedroom(s)

    The bedroom is one of the essential parts of your home, and as a tenant, it’s vital to ensure it’s not short of comfort. Hence, you need to highlight and record the state of the bedroom floor, walls, outlets/switches, ceiling, windows, dresser, hangers, screens, blinds, closet, light fixtures, light bulbs, and other functional items in it. This will help you make a strong demand for repairs.

    On the other hand, the state of this house and its items determine the amount of security deposit to return as a landlord. If it’s in the same condition as your last inspection date, it won’t affect the security deposit, and vice versa.

    Living room

    Like the bedroom, new tenants should also check the state of essential components in the living room. These components may include wall paintings, chandeliers, light bulbs, outlets & switches, windows, doors, the room floor, ceiling, light fixtures, etc. Other electronic essentials should also be considered.

    Inspecting these components can help a tenant demand repairs where needed. It can also help a landlord deduct damages from a moving tenant’s security deposit.

    Dining room

    If a dining room does exist on the property, it’s also worth checking. Both the tenants and the landlords should record the state of the dining table and chairs, the floor, the wall, the light fixtures, outlets, switches, light bulbs, the ceiling, windows/coverings, and other components in their checklist.

    Kitchen

    The kitchen is another important area of the home that requires a thorough inspection and should be recorded.

    As a tenant, you don’t want to move into an apartment with a broken kitchen cabinet, a blocked/damaged kitchen sewer, and a broken tiled floor. Hence, you should consider inspecting the kitchen sewer, cabinets, walls, floors, Range, Faucets, pantry/closets, equipment (e.g., fire alarm), windows, shades, outlets, switches, light fixtures, light bulbs, space for your cookware, extra storage space/store room, etc.

    On the other hand, no landlord would want their property left in this state. Hence, there is a need to inspect this area and its components. State and record their condition.

    Bathroom

    The shower, bathroom sewer, state of the floor, walls, light fixtures, lightbulbs, switches, shades/blinds, windows, shower hook, tap, closets, cabinets, exhaust fan, etc. are among the significant items to be checked out in the bathroom area. Both the tenant and the landlord should properly record this information.

    Toilet

    In a property where the bathroom and toilet are different, the toilet is another essential area to consider. The tenant should highlight and record the state of the water closer, the tap, the floor, the wall, the windows, light bulbs, switches, blinds, the door, the ceiling, the drain, and every other essential thing.

    The landlord should also consider all these items to ensure his property is left in its best state.

    Entry

    The entry of the property is the first point of interaction with visitors, and how appealing it is shapes their perception of how the interior would be. Therefore, the tenant should highlight basic things that need repair or fixing to make it look more appealing.

    On the other hand, the landlord should use the required resources from the security deposit to put it back to its initial state if the old tenants are responsible for the degeneration.

    Additional items

    Some other items to consider are

    • Cleaning essentials, e.g., waste bag, dustpan, etc.
    • Laundry essentials
    • Safety and first-aid essentials, e.g., band-aid or the first aid kit itself
    • Home toolkit essentials, e.g., hammer, screwdriver
    • Technology, etc.

    Required States

    The move-in/move-out checklist isn’t compulsory for all U.S. states during lease agreement processing. It’s only needed if the landlord collects a security deposit. However, the following states require one:

    StateStatute
    Arizona§ 33-1321(C)
    Georgia§ 44-7-33
    Hawaii§ 521-42(6)
    Kansas§ 58-2548
    Kentucky§ 383.580(2)
    Maryland§  8-203.1(a)
    MassachusettsChapter 186, Section 15B(2)(b)
    Michigan§ 554.608
    Montana§ 70-25-206
    NevadaNRS 118A.200(k)
    New HampshireRSA 540-A:6(I)(c)
    North Dakota§ 47-16-07.2
    Oregon (Portland ONLY)§ 30.01.087(D)(1)
    Utah§ 57-22-4(3)
    Virginia§ 55.1-1214
    Washington§ 59.18.260
    Wisconsin§ 134.06

    Benefits of Signing These Checklists

    The checklists protect your interests as a tenant or a landlord, respectively. It helps you identify what’s required of you and sometimes saves you some extra cost.

    For the landlord

    As a landlord, this section will help you understand the importance of having a move-out checklist. No matter how long a rental agreement lasts, you should make it a point of duty to carry out an inspection.

    The move-out checklist could also help you prevent major issues with your tenant over security deposits, as this is one common point or problem during a tenant’s move-out. It will help them understand your highlighted checkout procedure and the state your property should be in.

    For the tenant

    This section also explains why a checklist should be one of the essential things a new tenant should put in place.

    Moving Checklist Template 11 - Editable - Excel

    Moving Checklist Template 12 - Modifiable - Excel

    Moving Checklist Template 13 - Customizable - Excel

    Moving Checklist Template 14 - Editable - Excel File

    Countdown to Moving Day Template 15 - Customizable - PDF

    Moving Checklist Template - Editable - Excel

    Moving Box Contents Checklist 17 - Modifiable - PDF

    Moving Checklist Template 18 - Editable - PDF

    Tenant Move-In And Move-Out Property Checklist Template - Modifiable - PDF

    Moving Out Checklist Template 20 - Customizable - PDF

      Conclusion

      A landlord with a move-out checklist can rest assured that his property is at low risk of being damaged. Even if this occurs, it can help him ensure that he doesn’t cover the cost. The security deposit can only be returned in full if the tenant leaves the property in the same state in which they met it.

      The landlord isn’t the only one who benefits from it. The tenant can also leverage them to demand repairs before moving in and counter any deductions in security deposits due to pre-existing repair needs at the beginning of the lease.

      Hence, landlords and tenants cannot downplay the importance of move-in and move-out checklists. Some acclaimed real estate agents charge exorbitant fees, promising to create the best ones for naïve tenants, but we see this as extortion. This article contains all the information you may need to create your own.

      About This Article

      Justin W. Heeg
      Authored by:
      Contract Specialist, Business & Real Estate Attorney
      Justin W. Heeg, Esq., founder of Heeg Law PLLC, brings extensive expertise in legal contract writing, with a special focus on real estate, complemented by a strong foundation in trusts and wills. Previously a prominent figure at Dwight Capital, a premier U.S. commercial real estate lender, Justin played a pivotal role in shaping their mortgage REIT strategy and overseeing legal compliance. His tenure at the esteemed law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP saw him facilitating significant real estate transactions, advising top-tier lenders, and equity firms. With his rich legal background, Justin stands as a trusted expert in both business and real estate law.

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