The Importance of Residential Lease Inventory and Condition Forms

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If you’re a renter, you should know what a residential lease inventory and conditions form is. If you’re renting your home, there is going to be wear and tear over your time there. What is considered normal will depend on what your landlord expects and the condition of the apartment when you first move into it. This is why it is super important that you fill out an inventory and condition form when you first move in. (Note: Forms may be titled differently depending on your region and landlord.)

If your landlord or superintendent does not require one or even bring it up do yourself a favor and suggest it to them. In fact, don’t just suggest it but insist, because you don’t want to get blamed for any damage or wear and tear that was already there when you moved in. You can find forms online to download if needed.

What Is It?

So, what is a residential lease inventory and conditions form? Basically, it’s a document that you, as a new tenant, will use to note the condition of the house or apartment is in when you first move in.


It’s very likely that the unit you are moving into is not perfect; most likely it will already have a bit of wear and tear and maybe even some significant damage left behind from previous tenants that has not been fixed. Since this is common, you are going to want to fill out a residential lease and conditions form that states what damage and wear and tear was already there when you moved in.

Then, when your lease is up and your superintendent or landlord comes in to take any notes of what wear and tear was done by you, you can both know what was there when you first moved in and what was caused by you. That way, you won’t be blamed for anything that was caused by a previous tenant.

The residential lease inventory and conditions form will also be used to determine whether you get your full deposit back. So, if you want that money back, make sure you get it done!

What Needs to be Noted?

You will need to go through each and every room and carefully record the condition. Take note of the state of the appliances, walls, flooring, light fixtures, and everything else that is part of the unit. If there is any damage that is pre-existing when you first move in, even if it’s seems super minor, you will need to write it down so that you are not blamed for it when you move out.

old gas stove

How Should You Fill it Out?

  • Every Single Room — The residential lease inventory and conditions form should have a section for every single room in the unit, making it easy for you to go around the unit and double check you have covered everything.
  • Take Pictures — When you go through every room, take pictures of everything! Pictures are proof that any damage or wear and tear in the unit was there when you first arrived. Email them to your superintendent or landlord, and keep records for yourself. Digital photo files always have the date when the picture was taken attached to them so that you can prove it was there on the day you moved in.
  • Fill It out Before Moving in — Before you even move in one object, fill out this form! It’s easy to blame you for damage or wear and tear once you started bringing your belongings into the unit, but before you even move in is a lot harder.
  • Test Appliances — Go around and try out all of the appliances including the stove, fridge, lights, and smoke detectors. If something isn’t working properly take note of it in your residential lease inventory and conditions form, and also let your superintendent or landlord know right away.
  • Test Utilities — You’ll also want to test the utilities such as the water, gas, and electricity.
  • Check the Exterior — Don’t forget to take notes about the exterior, too, because chances are you will also be responsible for your balcony, windows, and doors. Test all of the locks and latches, and be sure to record any flaws.
  • Get It Done — Residential lease inventory and conditions forms typically have deadlines. Make sure you get it done before the deadline.
  • Keep a Copy for Yourself — Obviously you’re going to hand one into your landlord or superintendent, but you should always keep a copy for yourself. So, make a copy of everything, including the pictures, and put it with your personal records; store it with your lease agreement. Having a copy for yourself ensures that you have proof, too.
  • Landlord’s Signature — Once the form is completed you will need to sign it, of course, but also make sure you get your superintendent or landlord’s signature, too. This signifies that they have seen, have acknowledged, and agree with your comments.

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