Apartment Move-In Inspection Tips

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When you move into a new apartment, it’s up to you to inspect your new home. When you do an inspection, you’re looking for specifics:

  • Is there any damage to the apartment that is there before you move in? You don’t want to get penalized for something you didn’t do.
  • Are there any problems that need to be fixed before you can move in? If there’s a problem with a leak, for instance, you may not be able to start living in the apartment until it has been fixed.

An apartment inspection is just a matter of making sure everything looks the way it should. Check that appliances work — turn them on and see what happens. You also should check faucets, along with the heater and air conditioning systems. Check that windows open, shut and lock. You even want to keep an eye out for bugs and other pests — signs can include mouse droppings, dead bug bodies and even the mouse trap your landlord left out.

One thing worth checking that isn’t always on an inspection checklist is the electrical outlets. Bring along a night light or other plug-in in to test each of the electrical outlets in your new apartment. Micki Sievwright of Denver, Colorado, had a friend who failed to do just that: “We had some friends move into their apartment, set up their big screen TV, have the satellite worker set everything up, only to find out the one nearby outlet failed to work. So, cords are all over the living room.”

When you go to do your apartment inspection, take along a camera. Take pictures of any problems and provide copies to the landlord immediately. If, for instance, there are some dings in the wall before you even move in, make sure your landlord knows about them.

It’s up to you whether you want your landlord to fix those dings before you move in, but you definitely don’t want him taking the repairs out your deposit when you move out. Having photographic evidence on day one makes it easier to argue your point down the road.

Even if you aren’t renting an apartment for the first time, it’s a good idea to take a friend or family member along. An extra set of eyes can help ensure that you catch every problem — before you move in and have to live with it.

9 Responses to “Apartment Move-In Inspection Tips”

  1. September 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm, Guest said:

    I worked for an apartment complex for several years. Look for the following during your inspection:

    1. Check the carpeting for stains. Ask for the landlord to replace the carpeting. Most carpets have “pet urine” in the pad.

    2. Check tile. Most tile has scraps.

    3. Check appliances. Make sure if you move in on a Friday, you try all the appliances. The apartment complex maintenace department is closed on the weekends, so if the a/c and appliances are not working you might need to wait a week for completions.

    4. Ask for a copy of your lease and move in sheet inspection. Get this right away. If you leave, most complexes won’t give you this information.

    5. If you don’t get the results, contact the apartments “corporate office.” Most leasing agents and property managers, won’t help you after move in.

    6. Write to the BBB if you don’t receive your security deposit. Most apartment complexes do not give you back the deposit. They hold it in escrow, so they receive the money at end of month. Brings up their “close out numbers.”

    7. Watch out for the property manager. The last one, was never around. She was with residents discussings “her personal problems.”

    Good luck


  2. October 02, 2008 at 4:33 pm, Guest said:

    GET PHOTOS!!! If you see a repeated problem, make sure it is all written down so YOU dont get charged with it, in the end.

    Escape the problems, is what most maintainence workers wish to do. Dont let it BE there,,,,,,and just ignore.


  3. October 07, 2008 at 6:42 pm, Guest said:

    Make sure you check for any damage in the houston apartments. If there is any damage you will be responsible


  4. October 10, 2008 at 12:36 pm, Guest said:

    As the article and comments suggest, the best thing is documentation – as much of it as possible (in writing, photographic, etc). Make sure the PM sees this, that maintenance requests are put in immediately, and that you get copies of everything (both your documentation and copies of the maintenance requests).

    Additional tips: look underneath every sink for discoloration or warping from leaks, check the hot water, and check underneath/around exterior doors for failures in the weather-stripping.

    Contact the utility company – most will give you histories and perform audits (complete with official write-ups) that managers are hard-pressed to ignore.

    And don’t forget the power of numbers – talk to your neighbors and find out if they’re experiencing similar problems. If so, work together as a group, going straight to the corporate level or owners if necessary.

    Oh, and one last tip from a former land-lord: leave mommy, daddy, your significant other, siblings, and etc out of the actual process of reporting and following up on your apartment-related issues. Nothing puts up barriers like the “my father’s a lawyer” line. In most states, even if they sign a guarantor form, they are not ‘co-signers’ in any legal sense. And you don’t want anyone in the office thinking that they can ignore you until mommy steps in.


  5. October 13, 2008 at 2:33 pm, Guest said:

    in addition to everything already stated, keep in mind that it’s better to be over-analytical on your move-in condition sheet and write down every tiny thing than to have to pay for a whatever you thought wouldn’t matter
    when you move out!


  6. October 21, 2008 at 5:43 pm, Guest said:

    I am a long-term tenant at Royal Farms Apartment Community, Salt Lake City, Utah. We moved in in 1992, and I continue alone since my husband’s death
    December 2002. My one-bedroom apartment is comfortabe, safe, and with little noise from neighbors because of thick walls. Renters enjoy many amenities in a nicely landscaped community. Management is courteous and friendly; maintenace is available around the clock to keep apartments ship-shape. I am happy to recommend Royal Farms Apartments.


  7. November 07, 2008 at 2:40 pm, Guest said:

    I’m havin second toughts about movin in an apt i jus sighn a lease on can i renig without losing anythin


  8. November 14, 2008 at 12:16 pm, Guest said:

    Most importantly read this web site,also ask the neighbors that surround the complex how it is living next to it. ,also ask older tenants who tend to stay longer the quality of life there, ride through at least several times including weekends day/night to get an idea of whethere people relax on their own terrace/balcony, or block the steps as if their back in the hood and if you have kids running amock without regard for adults. Go to your local police dept. Many have crime mappiing that allows you to enter the addess of the area you’re considering and will show the
    number/severity of crimes,property/breakins/personel attacks etc, look for lighting at night and if you see groups of kids hiding in dark areas bozing it up

    One very important thing, not so many years ago units were required to have concrete floors/wallsand firestops in the roofing area. New laws made it easier for developers to just put sprinklers in,while helpful it allows them to only stick up plywoood/drywal between units, not much in the way of soundproofing

    I moved into two older units that were recently updated with new kitchens/baths/windows/sliders.and very seldom do I hear anyone above,below, or next to me because of the 9″-12″ of concrete between wals and ceilings. Sure the newer contempary complexs have a modern exterior but you’re not living on the outside of the building.


  9. June 29, 2009 at 2:17 am, cindy said:

    we moved about 3 weeks ago and the carpet is terrible!! we have really black stains on it and he also gave me a messed up dishwasher he promised to fix but never did. the light to my room has not been fixed either i wrote him several letter and i get nothing i also need to have my locks changed from here, he said he was but never did> what can i do??? please help!! another thing…. we have a pool and he never opens it he says he has to be there watching at all times is that normal? (weird) please email me with a response.
    thank you


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