Show Menu

Items Landlords Must Check Before Tenant Move In Cheat Sheet by

Items Landlords Must Check Before Tenant Move In
items     rental     landlord     checkup


Now that you have found and screened a tenant to fill the vacancy at your rental, the next step is to actually have the tenant move into your property. There are certain steps every landlord should take to help make this transition as smooth as possible. If you get into the habit of checking off these ten items every time a new tenant moves in, the process will be easier for both you and the tenant, and misund­ers­tan­dings and complaints will be minimized.

1. Repair Any Damage­/Health or Safety Issues

Before a tenant moves in, repair any existing damage at the property. Damage includes any hole in the wall or a broken window lock.

Make sure there are no health or safety issues. Safety issues include verifying that there are two forms of exit from the unit and that all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in working order. Health issues include checking for signs of mold and, for buildings constr­ucted before 1978, that there are no lead-based paint hazards.
This mainte­nance is necessary for the tenant's health and safety. It also ensures that you pass property inspec­tions required before the tenant moves in.

2. Clean the Property

This is especially necessary if you are doing an apartment turnover, which means there was a previous tenant living in the unit. You will want to make sure the unit is thoroughly cleaned, especially areas such as the tub, toilet, stove, and refrig­erator.

Even if this is the first time you are renting out the unit and everything is brand new, you should still vacuum or sweep to remove any debris. You should also have the property exterm­inated before tenant move-in even if there is no noticeable problem.

3. Make Sure Heat, Plumbing & Electric Are Working

Before a tenant moves in, you must make sure all utilities are working.

You will need to do this whether you are respon­sible for paying for the utilities or whether the tenant is respon­sible for paying for them.

You will want to make sure the heat works in all rooms, that there are no clogs or leaks in the plumbing and that the outlets and overhead lights in every room are operat­ional. These are necess­ities that a tenant needs to maintain their quality of life.

4. Go Over Lease and Have Tenant Sign Lease

You should go over the lease agreement with the tenant section by section so that they completely understand what they are agreeing to. Once you have gone over the entire agreement with the tenant and answered any questions, you and the tenant should sign and date the lease agreement.

5. Collect First Month’s Rent & Security Deposit

You should always collect the first month’s rent and the entire security deposit before the tenant moves into the unit. If the tenant does not pay on time the first month, it increases the likelihood that they will be late with their rental payments the following months.

The exception to collecting the first month's rent prior to the tenant's move in would be if the tenant is receiving government assist­ance, such as Section 8.
Section 8 will send you the check once the tenant has moved into the unit. However, Section 8 tenants are still respon­sible for paying their own security deposit. You should still collect this deposit prior to the tenant's move-in.

6. Have Property Inspected if Required

Depending on your town’s laws, you may have to have the unit inspected before a tenant can move into the unit. This inspection is done so the town can issue you a Certif­icate of Habita­bility. Some towns only require this inspection the first time the unit is rented, some towns require it every five years and some require it every time a new tenant moves into the unit. Make sure you know your town’s rules.

If you are renting to a Section 8 tenant, the apartment will have to be inspected by a Section 8 inspector to make sure it meets their health and safety standards.

Section 8 requires the unit to be inspected every year that the Section 8 tenant lives there.

7. Change Locks

Before a new tenant moves in, you should always change the locks on the doors. This is done for the safety of the tenant and to protect you from liability. You do not want an old tenant to have the keys to the new tenant’s apartment. Spend the $20 on a new lock to avoid any issues.

8. Go Through Move-In Checklist

On the tenant’s actual move-in day, you should go over the move-in checklist with the tenant. The checklist describes the condition of the property as a whole and of each room in detail. You should have the tenant sign and date this checklist. The move-in checklist is important as it allows you to compare the condition of the property when the tenant moves in, to the condition of the property when the tenant moves out.

9. Provide Tenant With Your Contact Inform­ation

You should provide the tenant with your contact inform­ation. This will be the method of commun­ication which allows them to reach you if they have a question or complaint. It can be a phone number or an email address, but make sure they know to only contact you during normal business hours, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., unless it is an absolute emergency.

10. Go Thru Specific Tenant Requests or Conditions

There are situations where a tenant may have a specific request or special requir­ements that are not typical. Some examples could be:

Having the Apartment Painted a Certain Color
Installing a Washer­/Dryer Prior to Move In
Receiving a Government Assistance Housing Voucher
A Disability Which Requires a Service Animal


In the situations such as the government assistance and the service dog, you are legally respon­sible to take the approp­riate steps to accomm­odate the tenant. In the situations that are more desire than necessity, it is up to you to decide if you would like to honor the request. You should make sure to add any special requests as a clause in your lease agreement. For example, if you are going to charge the tenant $500 to paint the apartment, you need to include this in your lease so that you have written proof that the tenant has agreed to these terms.

Download the Items Landlords Must Check Before Tenant Move In Cheat Sheet

2 Pages

PDF (recommended)

Alternative Downloads

Share This Cheat Sheet!



No comments yet. Add yours below!

Add a Comment

Your Comment

Please enter your name.

    Please enter your email address

      Please enter your Comment.

          Related Cheat Sheets

          Minecraft Item IDs Cheat Sheet
          Newly Wed Checklist Cheat Sheet

          More Cheat Sheets by Davidpol

          Inspecting Home for Fall Hazards Cheat Sheet
          Barcelona Principles 2.0 Cheat Sheet