After spending time and money to clean and repair your rental, the last thing you want to find out is that you owe exorbitant move-out fees because you didn’t abide by the terms of your lease. Earlier this week, we provided a moving-out checklist to best prepare you for a walkthrough of your apartment or rental home. In this installment, we’ll discuss scheduling a walkthrough and what steps should be taken following one.

Before the Walkthrough

Review your lease. If you have not already done so, read through your lease thoroughly to be sure that you have satisfied all the move-out requirements. Doing so will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises during the walkthrough. It is also likely that you filled out a form when you moved in that detailed any preexisting issues with the property. If you still have a copy, consult it to confirm that no additional issues now exist. If any damage occurred during your tenancy that has not yet been resolved, you may want to repair it prior to the walkthrough to avoid having to dispute it with your landlord.

realtor discusses paperwork with two rentersPut in a walkthrough request. Contact your landlord to schedule a walkthrough prior to your move. The best time to conduct the walkthrough is about two weeks prior to your official move-out date. The two-week buffer will give you time to make any further cleaning or repair arrangements before you vacate the premises. Landlords are required by law to perform walkthroughs when requested, so if your landlord tries to evade your request, there may be something shady going on, and you should consider seeking legal counsel.

During the Walkthrough

Listen to the landlord. Upon inspecting your apartment, the landlord will alert you to any issues that may result in potential charges and what action you can take to avoid deductions from your rental security deposit. If you feel the landlord is evaluating anything unfairly, make your case politely and try your best to reach a compromise. If you are planning to rent elsewhere in the future, you may need to use the landlord as a reference, so you do not want to burn a bridge.

After the Walkthrough

man working on window in homeDecide what action to take. If the landlord pointed out anything specific that you could clean or repair prior to your departure to prevent withholdings from your rental deposit, decide if it is worth your time and money to do so. If the issues the landlord pointed out are minor and not too costly, it may be less of a headache for you to just focus on your move and let the landlord deal with it once you are gone. Just keep in mind that if you don’t make the changes, you’ll lose money from your deposit, and your reputation with the landlord may be tarnished.

Make arrangements. If you have decided to try to avoid extra charges by making the changes the landlord requested, book any contractors immediately since you only have two weeks to remedy the issues. If you are in a pinch and looking for a reputable contractor, contact one of our Best Picks for help.

A rental home or apartment walkthrough can be nerve wracking, but if you prepare properly and negotiate fairly and politely, you can expect a smoother move. Follow the aforementioned steps to maintain a good reputation with your landlord and receive all or most of your security deposit back.

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