The tenant move in process we have created and reformed through the years allows us to accomplish two important objectives:
- Note and document the move-in condition for later reference
- Demonstrate the home’s important features to the tenant
We prefer to meet at the home for the tenant move. At this time we provide keys, security codes, and garage door openers. We ensure the tenant move in is completed with them present to confirm any issues with the home that need to be documented as existing at move in. It is an important meeting. Not all tenants fully grasp that and show up with kids, cell phones, and distractions. Later they have little to support their claim that the entry light has “never worked since they moved in” as they simply were distracted when it was demonstrated.
The two most important tools for the move-in walk through are a camera and a standardized form. We have our own Move-In/Move-Out form. It is divided by area of the home with a space to note any defects. This area list is segmented between a Move-In or a Move-Out column. The important information such as dates and tenant names are identified at the top. The tenant signs their agreement at Move-In or shortly thereafter if the timing of move-in does not allow us to meet at the property. Move-out is done without the tenant present. Any defects at Move-In are documented by date-stamped photo.
At an in-person move-in the Manager will demonstrate basic items such as how the appliances work, operating the air conditioner and furnace, and importantly, where the main water shut off is located. The Manager will document major items for repair. A tenant should not be moving into a home that is not ready for occupancy and the Manager should already be aware of any existing issues and be prepared with a plan to document and rectify.
So as to keep the process simple, the tenant should be made to feel comfortable that reasonable items found in the first week should be reported. Unless it is considered move-in damage, the tenant should feel comfortable that the owner will repair the item and it not be considered their responsibility or potentially something to be offset with their deposit. For example, a common item that seems to be discovered after move-in is an inadequate supply of hot water. It is not for the move-In inspection to run enough hot water to simulate the demands of a shower or two in the morning. Once a tenant lives in the home, this discussion may take place. It is not the tenant’s fault that the heater is failing and for the sake of good relations, they should be encouraged to report it at the first hint of trouble.