The importance of a move-in walk-through

Renting a place is such a big part of life that almost everyone will do it at least once. Moving from one place to another can come with so many different emotions: frustration from looking for a new home, delight in finding the perfect spot, anxiety on the thought of organizing the actual move, sadness from leaving loved ones or a home that you’ve lived in for so long and the wonder or fascination in your sense of adventure in finally starting that new part of your life and calling a new place home and experiencing all that may come with it.

Moving can be fun, or stressful!

There are so many things to do when moving, so many moving parts and trying to keep track of everything can be tough, but that’s a conversation for another time.

When you’re finally moved in to your new place it’s always important to organize that infamous walk-through with your new landlord. Some people – like us – like to do it in the first week that you’ve moved in. This gives you time to settle down and enjoy your new home but most importantly it also gives you time to test the waters, so to speak, and see if there is anything that you, as a tenant, need to bring to the attention of your landlord.

Organizing a meeting with your landlord should be one of your top priorities. Again, depending on what your lease says, it may not have to be an immediate meeting but it’s best to at least organize it as soon as you can. Generally speaking, this shouldn’t be a problem, but a fair warning: some landlords might manage more than just your new place. As an example, as one of the largest property management companies on our islands we manage houses, apartments, condos and studios. So when we have move-ins we have a lot of move-ins to handle all within a short period of time – think of the span of a week or two. Another thing to keep in mind is that certain places might have high and low periods so getting an appointment really depends on where you are moving to and what kind of scheduling they have there.

Some landlords are able to do the walk-through during the move-in itself, typically they’ll bring the inventory list and walk through your new home with you. Try to keep a keen eye and take note of any problems with the paint, tiles or floor boards, furniture, and fittings. If you’re new home has inventory you’ll be tasked with counting every individual item in the property with the landlord present.

Otherwise, you landlord has given you some time to get settled before the walk-through. I always suggest for anyone to have their walk-through the first week they are living in their new home. A week is enough time for you to get settled, clean up a bit, schedule the walk-through and most importantly see what your home is actually like. Learn its ins and outs.

You have your walk-through organized, great! Now what do you do? That depends on the scenario as well. To start with, if electricity is not included in your rent and your walk-through is not happening when you first arrive, the first thing you’re going to want to do is get that info from your landlord. When our tenants move in, we take note of their electric reading. Most landlords in this scenario will hopefully do the same. Next, start taking notes of what’s going on in your new home, cracks in the tiles, tears on the furniture, knicks on the walls and even if the water heater doesn’t make hot enough hot water. The idea is to be ready with a list of items for your landlord to take note and have on record that these things happened before you moved in.

Take photos! Don’t be shy, take photos and share them with your landlord, keep them somewhere safe online and make sure the photos are time stamped with the dates. If your new landlord has sent you an inventory list, start the process and start counting the items, take notes – it will make the actual walk-through that much quicker when it’s time.

When the time comes and your landlord is coming over to physically do the walk-through with you, the best things is to personally show them all the items on your list, all those knicks, scratches, dents, cracks and whatever else you were able to find. To speed up the process, make sure your house is clean and tidy, a dirty or untidy space is difficult to maneuver and problem can be easily hidden. It also gives a bad impression to your landlord so early into your relationship. Next, take the inventory that needs counting out of storage and put it in an easily accessible location so it’s easy to count. Make sure not to mix any of your personal items in with the inventory provided in your new home.

Now that you’ve shown your landlord anything you’ve found make sure that you get a copy of the inventory list with all the missing or broken items signed by both you and your landlord, they’re going to want the same. This will be handy for when it’s time to move on to your next place, believe me.

So that covers the furnished or move-in ready properties, but what about the unfurnished ones? The same rules apply, but there is just less to worry about. Problems in the structure or fittings are easier to notice because they aren’t covered in things.

A late walk-through can have penalties or cause issues with your landlord. In some cases landlords may not want to cover damages to the property because they were not reported in time. I cannot stress this enough, make sure you organize for a walk-through!

The importance of a good walk-through
The importance of a good walk-through can save you money at the end of your lease

While it’s to both you and your landlord’s benefit to have the walk-through done in a timely fashion, keep in mind that, ultimately, you as a tenant need to take action and make sure that you are protecting yourself in the long run. Don’t only organize that walk-through but also make sure it happens. Get a copy of that signed inventory list or walk-through check list. Take and save those photos of your new home.

It can save you a lot of headache and hassle when it comes to your the return of your security deposit!

Published by

Alexander

Alexander is a long time tenant, owner and even landlord. He's lived all over the world but has spent about half his life in St. Kitts and half his life in Canada. He has a pretty unique view in things as he can see all three perspectives of the tenant-landlord/manager-owner relationship and has experienced it from different countries. Alexander used to work an office job in a suit and tie in the Great White North and decided that it wasn't in his best interest, so now spends as much time in the outdoors here in St. Kitts. Scuba diver, dog owner and avid kiteboarder, he's always looking for that new adventure.

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