In a previous blog, we spoke about the move in inspection and the importance of it being clear, concise, detailed and accurate. During the move out inspection, you’ll be referring to that report, and if you did your homework up front, the move out inspection should go relatively smoothly.
Move Out Inspection Report
You and the tenant will once again inspect the property together and complete the move out inspection report. Specifically, you’re looking for differences in the condition of the property from when the tenant moved in. Any observed changes should be noted on the move out inspection report, and the tenant should be given the opportunity to correct any deficiencies prior to returning possession of the unit to you. Please remember that your documentation for any changes or damages will be the move in inspection report.
Pre-Move Out Inspection
Civil Code 1950.5 states that within a reasonable period of time after receiving notice of termination, the landlord shall notify the tenant in writing of the tenant’s action to request a pre-move out inspection. The inspection can be made at the request of the tenant. If, however, the tenant chooses not to pursue a move out inspection, the duties of the landlord under this section are discharged. The pre-inspection cannot take place more than two weeks prior to the actual move out date. Once you and the tenant have completed the pre-inspection, the tenant has the opportunity to make the necessary repairs and replacements prior to moving out in an effort to avoid potentially losing security deposit funds. The pre-move out inspection is beneficial to landlords and tenants, and we always encourage landlords to pursue it, even if the tenant does not request one.
Wear and Tear versus Damage
Normal wear and tear is a concept that doesn’t have a definitive measurement. It is the deterioration that occurs to a property over time if the property is being used as it is intended to be used and not abused. It is not the result of negligence, carelessness or accidents on the part of the tenant. It’s generally defined as unavoidable deterioration in the dwelling and fixtures from normal use. Wear and tear is the minor deterioration that’s going to occur regardless of who the tenant is. Paint will fade and carpet will become worn. However, a tear in the carpet is potentially abnormal wear and tear.
Other examples of wear and tear versus damage will be worn keys versus lost keys, loose doorknobs and locks versus damage from forced entry, cracks in the walls due to normal settling versus walls damaged due to a tenant’s careless or large holes left by shelves or pictures. It means wallpaper that is loose versus torn or scratched and window coverings that are worn and faded versus coverings that are torn, stuck or missing and windows that are stuck versus windows that are broken.
What is considered normal wear and tear to one individual may differ from another person’s perspective. You must remember that determining wear and tear is subjective and largely a judgment call. If you do a thorough move in inspection together and agree to the condition of the property at move in, you have a better chance at resolution during move out.
If you have any questions about property management, please contact us at Bayside Management.