When viewing a rental unit, it is easy to be swept up in the excitement of the unit and all of the bells and whistles the unit may offer. Often times, once a tenant secures a unit and visits the rental property for a second time, the unit looks completely different than they remember. Maybe that pantry magically appeared in the kitchen or a bedroom is suddenly carpeted a different colour. Did those changes actually occur or were you distracted by something else within the property that prevented you from digesting these features of the home during your initial walk through? Most likely it is the latter.
The same can be true regarding maintenance items. Most likely you didn’t notice a loose kitchen faucet or a leaky dishwasher at the time of your initial showing. Typically, we will suggest to tenants to make notes and take photos of anything they notice upon their move in and make the landlord aware of anything of concern immediately. Having these items recorded upon move in can help prevent tenants from being held responsible for items that were present upon their move in and make the landlord aware of some items that may have been missed during the landlord’s inspection. The landlord should then address the problem items within a timely manner and keep notes of any other less concerning items (i.e. chipped cabinet door, small stain in carpet) for their records to ensure the new tenants are not held responsible for previous tenant damage.
We have compiled a list of 10 items you should pay attention to during your walk through once possession of the rental is provided to you as a tenant.
- Windows and Screens – Check that all windows can open and close with minimal effort and there are no cracks in the glass. Screens should be attached to any windows that open and should not have any rips or holes present.
- Faucets and Drains – Ensure that all faucets are secure and check for any pipe leakage. If you see any major water stains present, this is important to bring to the landlord’s attention immediately. Run the water in your bathroom and kitchen sinks to see how easily they are draining. If these are slow to drain, there may be a build in the piping.
- Appliances – Check any appliances that have been included in your rental to ensure they are properly operating. This could include your stove, fridge, dishwasher, microwave, washer, dryer, etc.
- Locks – Ensure that all locks work smoothly without issues. If they do not, you can request for these to be lubricated or replaced. Double check that the keys provided to you work for all the corresponding doors. Double check your patio door latch and your window locks are all operational and inform your landlord if they are not.
- Doors – Open and close the doors within the unit and make note of any that do not close properly or appear to be off their hinges. Ensure all closet doors and patio doors are secure on their tracks and can open and close with minimal effort.
- Floors – If your flooring is carpeted, ensure to note any stains that are present. Take pictures to properly document these stains to make certain you are not held responsible. If your flooring is wood, document any discolouring, chips and scratches with photos and send to your landlord for their records.
- Ceilings – Check all ceilings within the unit for any water damage and discolouration. If water sports are present, this could mean something is leaking and your landlord should be notified immediately.
- Walls – Check all walls for any present holes, scrapes and marks. This is an important step as often times landlords will make tenants responsible for major holes and marks if patching and painting is required upon move out. Be diligent, take many pictures and write down notes. You do not want to be held responsible for any necessary painting after you vacate due to damage caused by a previous renter.
- Outlets and Breakers – Test all outlets throughout the unit to ensure they are all working. This is one of the most common aspects that are overlooked during a walk through and often times tenants notice an outlet isn’t working only when they need it most. Double check where the breaker box is to ensure if the breakers ever shut off, you know where to turn these back on.
- Heating and Cooling – Turn on your heating or cooling, depending on the time of year and ensure that there is hot or cold hair blowing from the vents. Check the thermostat and ensure it does not say low battery. If there is a low battery notification, make sure the battery is replaced. If your unit has baseboard heating, turn these on no matter what the time of year is. You will hear a creaking or clicking noise coming from the heaters as the metal starts to expand. This means they are functioning properly. If you do not hear this, notify your landlord and this will provide time to get these fixed in a timely manner.
Tenants do not want to be held financially responsible for someone else’s damage, so it is imperative to protect yourself. It is important to take the time upon move in to go through this check list and document anything that is necessary to help save you time and headaches throughout your tenancy.