Property Management Blog

How to Conduct a Tenant Walkthrough Inspection

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, September 9, 2022

A walkthrough inspection should be conducted at the beginning and end of every lease.  

The point of doing a walkthrough inspection at the beginning of the lease is to assess any maintenance or property issues before the tenant moves in. Before that tenant moves out, the landlord will also conduct another inspection to determine whether the quality of the property has changed.

Landlords who perform an initial walkthrough inspection with their new tenants will incur less damage and get the home back in better shape than those who rush property inspections or choose not to do them at all. Walkthroughs protect both the tenant and the landlord.

It is essential to perform a thorough examination since it protects both parties in accordance with the terms of the lease and any relevant legal requirements. Failure to meet important requirements when conducting the walkthrough could make the entire process unsuccessful.

Keep reading for seven recommendations for completing a preliminary walkthrough with a tenant that will make your final walkthrough more productive.

Create a Walkthrough Inspection Checklist

Make a checklist that lists the current condition of each area of the property and any furnishings or appliances. Generic tour forms can be found online and some are available as management software and mobile applications.

A landlord doing a property inspection with two people

Make a list of each and every element in each room, including things like ceiling fans, light fixtures, windows, sinks, kitchen appliances, and floors. Try your best to be thorough. Leave blank lines so you can add any other items that come to mind as you're walking around the house.

Your list should have columns so you can note the pieces, the status at move-in and move-out, and an estimate of the cost to replace or fix any problematic items. At the bottom of the form, add signature fields for both you and the renter. Once the walkthrough is complete, sign and date the form, then give a copy to the tenant for their records.

Perform Move-Out Inspections with the Tenant

Prior to the expiry of the lease, arrange a tour of the unit with the renter. This allows for two things.

To begin with, it enables both parties to jointly inspect the apartment room by room while noting conditions on the walkthrough form, minimizing conflicts once the tenant vacates.

It also provides you with a context for expectations. You can note the oven's immaculate interior or debate the difference between damage and normal wear and tear.

Take Pictures and Videos

Taking photos and videos makes it easy to document the property's present condition. The majority of smartphones offer a top-notch camera and the capacity to shoot videos.

A landlord taking a photo with their smartphone while doing a walkthrough inspection

Ideally, switch on the date mark feature if applicable and take a wide photo of each area and a close-up of any damage. Give the pictures captions and store the images on a drive or in the cloud in case you need to speak with the tenant or send photos to someone for repairs.

Conduct an Inspection before a New Tenant Arrives

Before your new tenant arrives, you should inspect your property thoroughly. Looking for stains on the carpet and broken doorknobs is only a small part of a walkthrough. It’s far less likely that a tenant will have issues in the first days of their lease if you have taken the time to carefully inspect your property. 

Check the cooling and heating systems, water pressure, test the appliances, and flush all the toilets. Open and shut all the windows, doors, and blinds. Try your best to be thorough. You don’t want to discover that the kitchen faucet is broken in front of the tenant.

If there are small issues, try to fix them before the new tenant moves in. If there are larger issues that will take longer to resolve, contact a maintenance team and inform the new tenant that the issues are being fixed. 

When you’ve finished the walkthrough with the new tenant, have them sign off that everything is in working order. This protects you in case the tenant later asserts that a broken doorknob has "always been that way" and that the microwave has never worked. 

A key in an open door

Allow New Tenants Time to Assess Additional Issues

Once the new tenant has moved into your rental property, allow them a few days to inform you of any additional repairs they would like done. If the tenant finds an issue you missed, have them record the issue.

If a tenant informs you promptly of a broken appliance or leaking ceiling, you can avoid serious property damages and the tenant can avoid their security deposit not being returned. If they don’t tell you about issues they notice, they might get blamed for the problem when they move out.

Learn State Landlord-Tenant Regulations 

California state law governs what a homeowner can and can’t do before a tenant moves in and after the tenant vacates. These guidelines set the maximum deposit you can request, circumstances that allow the owner to keep a portion of the security deposit, and the timeframe for the security deposit's return.

In the event that the security deposit is contested, landlord-tenant regulations may additionally define which repairs are the tenant's obligation and which are the landlord's responsibility. The terms of your lease may include additional obligations.

It's important to understand the law and establish when you can withhold the security deposit. Veteran landlords typically emphasize that you won't have to worry about making such an expensive error if you work with a property management firm.

Smiling person in a suit and glasses sitting behind a desk

We Can Help with Walkthrough Inspections

Running a successful rental property requires a significant amount of time, effort, knowledge, and experience. You are making an important choice when choosing a property management firm. The business you select should be committed to guiding you through every stage of the rental process. 

For the benefit of our clients, Pinnacle Property Management handles every aspect of property management. Since 1989, our company has proudly and successfully offered our property management services to Southern California. 

We are a reliable property management firm with a well-trained staff that, when necessary, also provides resident managers with training. The employees at Pinnacle Property Management are committed to providing excellent customer service and approach every property we manage as if it were our own. 


Pinnacle Property Management
CA DRE # 01905815
22700 Crenshaw Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90505
Ph: (310) 530-0606
Fax: (310) 626-9786
Email: pinnacle@pinnaclepmc.com

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