Tricks of the Trade

Move-in checklist for property managers

 

Apartment move-ins happen at the busiest time of the month for property managers. Make sure you don’t miss a beat for your residents or rental units with this move-in checklist.

Why do property managers need a rental property checklist?

When you’re preparing apartment move-ins, juggling move-outs, collecting rents, and bringing your accounts into order all at the same time, property managers can miss items that are part of a routine, especially when many rooms of an apartment have the same items to check.

Going room by room and documenting the condition of the property on a move-in checklist is an efficient way to make sure your maintenance crew has handled everything. Your arriving residents will have a better experience with a clean apartment that has everything in working order on moving day, setting the stage for lease renewals next year and less work for you.

Your apartment move-in checklist

From the front door to the back and everything in between, use this rental inspection checklist to efficiently prepare apartments before new residents arrive.

Entrance

First things first, check the deadbolt and entry lock. If they have been changed since the last resident, which is best practice to help ensure safety and security, make sure they’re in good repair and installed correctly.

Then inspect the door sweep or weatherstrip. Look for tears, rips and gaps, and make sure no dents or missing bristles keep the door from sealing as tightly as possible. Inspect that the threshold tiles or flooring isn’t cracked or stained.

See that the front porch light fixture and bulbs are in good repair, and then ensure the peephole and/or door knocker is clean and in good shape.

If there’s a screen door, look for dents in the kick plate and tears in the screen, and make sure the door latches firmly. Finally, check the switch plate and receptacle covers if there are any outlets in the entryway.

Shop door locks, latches, keys and keying

Living room

Check the light fixtures and bulbs—make sure the switch or cord is clean and works easily. Turn on the ceiling fan and look for wobbling, squeaking or cracks. Are switch plates in good repair, does the switch work or is the cord easy to pull? Residents who need to pull hard to activate the fan may cause more damage beyond normal wear in the coming months.

Next look for cracks, gaps and stains in the cove base. There’s often more dirt and wear and tear near entrances, such as the front door. See that doorstops are intact and working well to stop damage to the walls.

Check that window screens are intact, locks are working, and blinds are dusted and move freely. Test any smoke or CO alarm and make sure it’s clear of dust.

Finally, check that receptacle covers are intact and secure.

Shop indoor lighting parts and accessories

Dining room

The dining room move-in checklist is similar to the living room. Check the ceiling fan and lighting fixtures, as well as the door stop if applicable. There may be a smoke/CO alarm here as well to test.

Check the window screens, locks and blinds and, finally, that switch plates and receptacle covers are secure.

Shop wall plates

Bedroom(s)

Bedrooms can be a bit easier than the other rooms. Check that the privacy door lock is secure and inspect closet doorknobs as well as the closet rod and rack. See if there any scrapes or dents in the closet as well from storing large items. Check the door hinges for both the closet and bedroom doors, and ensure the door stops for both are in working order to protect the walls.

Inspect the ceiling fan and light fixtures, along with the switch plate. Test the smoke/CO alarm and see that the outlet covers are secured safely to the wall.

Check the window blinds, screens and locks, and inspect the cove base and trim.

Shop ceiling fans

Bathroom(s)

A few things can go wrong in bathrooms that can cause headaches for property managers and residents. First, check the angle stops or shut-off valves to make sure residents can turn off bathroom water in an emergency to prevent flooding. There should be one behind the toilet and the sink, at minimum.

Check the toilet for wobbling, leaks and evidence of water damage around the base, both on the flooring and below the tank. Ensure the toilet seat and lid are secure and that the toilet flushes smoothly, with quick draining and refilling.

In the bathroom sink, run the lavatory faucet and check that water drains efficiently. Make sure to run hot water, too, as an initial check on the water heater.

Ensure the sink is secure to the wall or vanity and that parts are all in order, such as escutcheons. Check the medicine cabinet and mirror as well for broken hardware. If there’s a vanity and vanity top, look for cracks or gaps from the wall. Check that bath hardware, such as toilet paper holders and towel racks, are secure.

In the bathtub and shower, run the shower and the tub spout to make sure water flows freely and look for leaks when off. Ensure the showerhead and shower arm are attached securely. Check the caulking and look for cracks and gaps. If there’s a shower door, ensure it’s smooth in the tracks, or if there’s a shower curtain, make sure the rod and brackets are secure.

Check all water supply lines for evidence of leaks and pay attention to any smells or clogs that could indicate an issue with bathroom P-traps.

Ensure any bathroom drawers are in their tracks, and that cabinet doors are secure in their hinges and cabinet knobs and pulls are in working order.

Many states require that a bathroom has either a window or a ventilation fan. Check that the fan works without excessive noise and that it’s not clogged with dust. Inspect the windows, locks, screens and blinds.

Check that the privacy door lock is secure, and then inspect door hinges and door stops to prevent future damage.

Finally, check light fixtures and bulbs, the switch plate and receptacle covers.

Shop bathroom plumbing and vanities

Kitchen

The kitchen has a lot of moving parts, so it’s easy to miss something without a checklist. Go through each of the items below to make sure arriving residents have a clean and safe cooking area.

First, check out the oven and stovetop. Turn on the bake and broil functions separately to test the elements. Test the burners and range element, and make sure all parts are accounted for, such as burner caps and drip bowls.

Turn the range hood on as you inspect the kitchen and listen for excessive noise. Check that the range hood filter is securely in place and not clogged with grease and dust. Inspect the range pigtail (cord) for tears and cuts. If there’s a built-in microwave, check that the plate isn’t cracked or dirty, and that it’s still in its wheel tracks.

If there’s a dishwasher, ensure the door seals don’t have gaps or tears and that the door closes tightly. Check the dishwasher water supply line for slow leaks.

In the sink, run the kitchen faucet to ensure the flow is unimpeded by dirt or grit in the strainer or aerator. Make sure the water drains easily. If water hasn’t been turned on for a while and there’s a bad smell, it could mean the P-trap is clogged or broken. Check the sink basket/strainer, and inspect water supply lines to the sink, if possible. If there’s a garbage disposal, turn it on and listen for excessive noise.

Check the cabinet door hinges—cabinets get opened often, and wear and tear can cause doors to sag if hinges aren’t secure. Cabinet knobs or pulls can also become loose over time; check that these are still secure. If you supply a fire extinguisher, make sure it’s charged and easily accessible.

Inspect the refrigerator and make sure the doors form a seal when closed. And don’t forget the ice maker, if there is one, and ice trays. Small, slow leaks in the ice maker supply line can lead to big problems later.

Check the backsplash, cove base and base trim—scuffs and stains happen often in cooking areas. And finally, check the window screens, locks and blinds, smoke/CO alarm, door stops and light fixtures and bulbs, as well as switch plates and receptacle covers.

Shop kitchen appliances and kitchen sinks

Laundry

In the laundry room, check the dryer and cord (pigtail), and make sure the dryer venting is cleaned out. Without a good maintenance system in place, the vent can be neglected and create a fire hazard for residents.

With the washer, check that the water supply line hoses are tightened and that there are no leaks. Look for any signs of water damage around the appliances as well. Pay attention to any smells in case the P-trap is clogged or broken.

The laundry room may have a passage knob, so make sure it turns freely and latches and that door hinges are secure.

Finally, inspect the light fixtures and bulbs, switch plate and receptacle covers.

Shop appliance cords and flexible water connectors

Patio, deck or back door

Similar to the front entrance, you’ll want to check light fixtures, bulbs and switch plates, as well as the door sweep/weatherstrip and door threshold. Double-check that the entry lock is secure and that it matches the front door if that’s how your lock system works. An outdoor patio may also have a ceiling fan.

If there is a sliding door, make sure it locks and runs smoothly in the tracks on both the top and bottom, as well as that windows lock and blinds are clean and working. There may also be outdoor electric outlets; if so, make sure they’re clean and attached securely.

Shop door sweeps

Outside and miscellaneous

Inspect the air conditioner or heat pump outdoors—dirt, leaves and debris can clog fans and prevent the HVAC system from working properly. With the water heater, check that the shut-off valve can be turned and inspect for strange noises, burn marks, drain pan and ventilation. Check that pipes aren’t leaking.

Look for damage to the window frames. Inspect any outdoor receptacle covers as well and switch plates for exterior lights.

Ferguson can help with your move-in checklist

Ferguson Facilities Supply has the products you need in stock so you can finish your property management checklist for residential move-ins fast. To order parts and cleaning supplies for your move-ins, property managers and maintenance chiefs can visit ferguson.com/turnschecklist and download a move-in checklist with catalog page numbers.