Move-in inspection: 9 tips for tenants before moving

Move-in inspection: 9 tips for tenants before moving

When considering moving into a new rental property, the excitement can sometimes overshadow the practical aspects. One important element that often goes unnoticed is the move-in inspection.

This crucial step in the renting process can safeguard your security deposit, ensuring you are not charged for any existing damages or defects in the future. Moreover, Dawson, a professional property management company advises that the inspection is necessary to inform the property owner of what needs to be fixed or replaced before you move in. This is especially important in Atlanta, where the cost of living is 14% higher than the state average, and the average rent for a 1-bedroom or studio apartment is $1,719! You wouldn’t want costs piling up on top of all these expenses now, would you?

So, before you relocate, consider these practical tips to ensure a thorough move-in inspection.

Understand Your Rights and Responsibilities

Being well-informed about your rights and responsibilities is of utmost importance. Your rights as a tenant differ from place to place, with each state or country having its own specific set of laws. For instance, in Georgia, tenants can send a written notice to the landlord for any important repairs.

Knowing your landlord’s obligations, what they should be providing, and what tasks you’re expected to handle is vital.

Remember, knowledge is power. A well-informed tenant can safeguard their interests better, making the entire renting process smoother and more satisfactory.

Consult a Professional

Although it’s feasible to carry out a move-in inspection independently, the option of professional consultation should not be overlooked. Their expertise and keen eye enable them to detect potential issues that an untrained eye may miss.

Make sure you hire the right professionals for major issues, such as roof repairs. For those residing in Atlanta, we suggest hiring experts at Dr. Roof. You can go through Dr. Roof Inc reviews on their website to make an informed decision. As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to know who is obliged to pay for the repairs or replacement so you can decide which services to avail of accordingly.

Document Everything

The significance of comprehensive documentation during a move-in inspection cannot be overstated. Every minor scratch, dent, or flaw should be diligently recorded. Not leaving any stone unturned, note down even the smallest irregularities.

This can be in written notes or, preferably, photographic evidence. Taking pictures or videos provides concrete evidence of the property’s condition at the time of moving in. This step is crucial and a protective measure against any unjust accusations of damage at the end of your lease term.

Careful documentation will be your safety net, shielding you from potential disputes over your security deposit.

Inspect the Exterior

When moving in, your attention shouldn’t be confined to the interior of your new rental. The exterior also demands your scrutiny.

Pay close attention to the property’s roof, walls, gutters, and even the condition of the lawn. Any damages or deterioration to these parts of the property could lead to disputes later.

Therefore, give them the same thorough inspection as you do to the inside of the home. Don’t let your excitement of exploring the interior overshadow the need for a comprehensive exterior inspection.

Check the Utilities

Utility inspection should be a part of your move-in checklist. Checking the functionality of the utilities such as electricity, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems is vital. When moving into your new place, flip every switch, run every tap, flush all toilets, and adjust the heating and cooling controls. Also, check the condition of all major appliances if they’re included in your lease.

This allows you to pinpoint any issues before they become your problem. Identifying and resolving these issues before moving in is far more convenient and efficient than dealing with them amidst unpacked boxes and moving chaos. Utility checks offer peace of mind, ensuring your new home is ready for comfortable and hassle-free living.

Pay Attention to Safety Features

Safety in a rental property is a concern that should never be compromised. During your move-in inspection, be sure to evaluate all the safety features in the property meticulously. This includes smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, which should be functional and well-maintained.

Don’t forget to test carbon monoxide detectors and security systems if present. They are invaluable in ensuring your peace of mind during your stay. In addition, ensure that all locks on doors and windows are in good working condition for your security. In case of any inadequacies, bring them to your landlord’s attention immediately.

Don’t Rush the Process

A move-in inspection is not an activity to be done in haste. Instead, it should be approached with patience and attention to detail. Devote sufficient time to scrutinize each corner of your new home.

From the carpets’ state to the appliances’ operation, every aspect deserves your undivided attention. Rushing through the process may lead to overlooking some crucial details that might cause inconvenience later.

Be methodical in your approach; systematically assess each room and make note of any discrepancies.

Discuss Findings with Your Landlord

Open communication with your landlord is crucial once you’ve completed the move-in inspection. If the inspection reveals any damages or defects, don’t hesitate to bring these to your landlord’s attention. It’s essential to clarify who will handle the repairs and bear the associated costs.

This conversation can prevent misunderstandings and protect you from unforeseen expenses during your tenancy. A detailed, documented discussion can serve as a useful reference point if disputes arise later.

Be assertive yet respectful during this discussion to maintain a positive landlord-tenant relationship. Having an open dialogue ensures both parties are on the same page, fostering an environment of trust and cooperation from the get-go.

Keep a Record

Post-inspection, creating a formal report is a wise step to ensure your findings are documented accurately. This report should include all details observed during the inspection, including existing damages and any agreements made with the landlord regarding repairs and responsibilities.

Request your landlord’s signature on this report to validate its content. This document is a tangible reference point, providing an accurate snapshot of the property’s condition at the start of your tenancy. It’s not just paperwork; it’s a vital protective measure.

Secure a copy for yourself and provide one to your landlord. This record can be indispensable, serving as a shield against future disputes about the property’s condition.


A move-in inspection is more than a simple walkthrough. It’s a proactive step to protect your interests. You set a solid foundation by understanding your rights, documenting everything, and focusing on the exterior, utilities, and safety features.

Discuss your findings with the landlord and keep records. And remember, professionals can be a great help. Navigate wisely, ensuring your new home is truly a safe and comfortable haven.