Managing move-ins and move-outs is much easier with a landlord inspection checklist. Property managers have a lot to think about when tenants are leaving or arriving, and it helps to have a clear guideline on what to look for before that happens.

DoorLoop's free rental property inspection checklist streamlines the process and helps you get everything ready before a tenant moves in or out.

Here is a quick guide to using an inspection checklist and the things you need to prepare.

What Is a Rental Property Inspection?

rental property inspection is the final check of a unit before someone leaves or arrives. The point of an inspection report is to check for damage and ensure the liveability standard is up to scratch.

It is an important part of a landlord's job for several reasons.

  • You ensure the quality and standard of your rental property remains high.
  • Your tenants are happy.
  • The value and marketability of your property increases.
  • Regular inspections help avoid any major issues going unnoticed.

Types of Landlord Inspections

Your checklist remains largely the same no what what your reason is for inspecting a property, but it helps to understand the key differences.

Here are the four main types of rental property inspections that landlords should have on their schedules.

New Property Pre-Rental Inspection

Before you first introduce a new property to the market, you should carry out a thorough inspection to check everything is ready. If it is a new construction, you need to make sure everything is cleared and ready for tenants, or if you have recently purchased a unit, you should go through everything to make sure it is up to your standards.

Move-In Inspection

move-in inspection happens just before a new tenant arrives. There are two reasons for this.

First, it is to ensure the property is liveable and acceptable to make a good first impression. It is also used to check for any existing damage before the tenant moves in.

Existing damage doesn't mean they can't move in, but it is important to document it with pictures and written details, which should be provided to the new tenants along with a signed agreement where you both acknowledge the damage.

This avoids the tenant being held responsible for something that wasn't their fault. It also means you have reference photos to compare with the condition when they leave.

Move-Out Inspection

No prizes for guessing this one! A move-out inspection happens at the end of a lease agreement to check if the condition of the property has significantly changed in a way the landlord did not know about or approve.

This includes damage, excessive dirt or mess, or issues that the landlord has not been made aware of.

You should have the photos you took during the move-in inspection- use them to compare things you are unsure of.

If there is any damage (beyond normal wear and tear), the tenant is responsible for the repairs (at least paying for them) before their security deposit is returned.

Quarterly Maintenance Inspection

The best way to avoid nasty surprises when a renter leaves is to carry out regular property inspections throughout the tenancy period.

Four times per year is the industry standard, as it is enough to stay on top of things without becoming invasive. It also allows you to manage your seasonal maintenance efficiently.

Checking your rental properties quarterly is an effective way to manage the property's condition while it is occupied long-term. That way, nothing goes unnoticed for too long.

What to Include in Your Property Inspection Checklists

Let's get into the things that every rental property owner or landlord should have on their inspection checklist. The key things covered here apply to every type of inspection.

To make it a bit more manageable, we have split it into three categories. When you use the free template, this is already done for you, and you can customize the specifics if there is something in your property the list does not cover.

General Items

  • Plumbing System: It is a good idea to hire a plumber to check for breaks and blockages.
  • Light Fixtures: Check if all your lights work, and if there are problems, bring in an electrician.
  • HVAC Systems: This is especially important in winter but applies all year. Have them inspected professionally at least once annually, and check them yourself on the other visits.
  • Smoke Alarms: Make sure smoke detectors and alarms are working with fresh batteries.
  • Sprinklers and Fire Extinguishers: Double-check your safety systems.
  • Stairs: Make sure they are clean and that the tread surface is even and safe. If they are carpeted, check for worn patches that could create a slip hazard.
  • Floors, walls, and ceilings: Check for dirt, marks, dents, or other signs of damage. Pay particular attention to areas more prone to dampness and look for any signs of pests, water leaks, and mold.

Indoor Items

  • Appliances: From large items such as washing machines to smaller kitchen items, check things are working and showing no signs of damage.
  • Toilet fixtures and fitting: Inspect showers, bathtubs, toilets, and other bathroom items. Again, make sure they are clean, intact, and working.
  • Furniture: Look at sofas, tables, chairs, and any other furniture items provided in the unit for signs of damage. If they are worn and old, consider having them replaced.
  • Cabinets, drawers, and other storage: Check outside and inside your cabinets, cupboards, drawers, and wardrobes throughout the property.
  • Baseboards and molding: Make sure these are well-cleaned and undamaged.
  • Other items: Fireplaces, garbage disposals, and other home features also need to be inspected for new damages.

Outdoor Items

  • Lawns and landscaping: Maintaining your front and backyard is essential to keep your property value and appeal up. Conduct an inspection and arrange upkeep regularly throughout the year.
  • Patios, balconies, and other outdoor areas: Outdoor living areas are a major attraction in rental properties, so it is important to attend to any needed repairs quickly and efficiently.
  • Parking: If there is a parking area on your property, you should also note any maintenance needs.

Your exact property details may vary, but the idea is the same. Walk through your rental unit and include anything you think needs your attention.

Manage Your Rental Inspection Checklist with DoorLoop's Free Template

DoorLoop is here to make your life as a landlord easier. Use this free rental inspection checklist to keep track of your properties!

You can explore the countless other ways DoorLoop makes rental property management easier by scheduling a free demo today.


Free Downloads

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!