After your tenants have vacated your San Jose rental property, it’s time for you to conduct a move-out inspection. This will be similar to your move-in inspection, and will give you the opportunity to compare the condition at move-out to the condition at move-in. You have hopefully had good tenants who took care of the home, and this process will be swift and uncomplicated.
There are a few specific things to look for when you’re completing your move-out inspection. Make sure you’re following all the required legal guidelines and documenting everything you find at the property.
Document the Property Condition with Notes and Pictures
To effectively document the condition of the property after your tenants leave, you need to take a lot of pictures and make a lot of notes. Everything should be reflected in your move-out inspection report. Be sure to include pictures of the floors, ceilings, and walls. Take pictures of drawers, cabinets, and closets. Don’t forget the appliances, sinks, toilets, and tubs. Your notes can describe what the pictures reflect, and then you’ll have a detailed snapshot of how the tenants left the property. This will help you make decisions about the security deposit and work that may need to be done.
Comparing Move-In vs. Move-Out Condition
Use your move-in inspection report when you’re conducting your move-out inspection. You’ll be able to see if there are any differences in the way your property looks now as compared to when your tenants took possession. It will be easy to see whether there’s any damage that was left behind by the tenants or if it’s simply wear and tear. Both inspections need to be thorough and well-documented. It will make your comparison much easier.
Tenants are Entitled to a Pre Move-Out Inspection
California law requires that you provide your tenants with an opportunity to have you inspect the property in their presence. They are not required to accept the offer, but you have to ask them if they want to do a pre move-out inspection with you. If they do, you can schedule a time before they vacate to look around and share with them what type of damage or cleaning issues you’ll be holding them responsible for during the final move-out inspection.
Remember that wear and tear is different from damage. The property owner has to pay for any normal wear and tear that’s found at the property after a tenant moves out. You know that most carpets will need to be replaced every seven years or so, and paint has a lifespan of about three years. Don’t charge the tenants for scuff marks and small nail holes in the walls. Those things are examples of wear and tear.
Returning the Security Deposit
Security deposit law in California needs to be followed to the letter. You can use your inspection reports to determine whether you are going to return the tenant’s full deposit or part of it. We recommend you act fairly and reasonably. Don’t press an issue that isn’t worth your time or money. Security deposit disputes that land in court don’t always go in the landlord’s favor.