NYC Rental Move-in Checklist for Landlords

Both before and during a new tenant’s move in, there are a number of things landlords must do. These same requirements are expected to be done once a tenant moves out of a unit as well. In order to keep track of these tasks as well as document which ones have already been completed, it can be helpful to create a checklist. This checklist will help you to clearly outline the condition of a unit both before and after a tenant moves in or out.

Here are a list of things to include in this checklist:

1. Inspect the Property Before the Tenant Moves In

This is one of the most important inspections that you can do, as it will ensure that the unit is in good shape for the incoming tenant. If a unit has been vacant for a long period of time, it may require maintenance and repairs before a tenant can move in.

Additionally, the inspection will clearly document the condition of the unit prior to the new tenant’s move in. This will be important for when the tenant is vacating the property, as it will make it easier for you to uncover any damages or repairs that should be deducted from the tenant’s security deposit.

2. Clarify the Difference Between Normal Wear and Tear and Excessive Damage

Your checklist should include a list of what will be considered wear and tear compared to excessive damage. This will be helpful when inspecting the unit upon the tenant’s lease expiration. Amenities such as any carpets, stairs, or other flooring are most likely to deal with normal wear and tear. However, if there is excessive damage, it should be reported to the tenant and the costs to repair the damages should be deducted from their security deposit.

Providing a list of what will be considered normal vs. excessive wear and tear will help clear any confusion from the tenant and avoid any miscommunication or disagreement.

3. Document all Issues

Prior to, during, and after a tenant’s stay, you should document all of the issues in the unit. This includes both documenting it in writing as well as pictures and videos. For example, if there is a repair that needs to be done mid-tenancy, it can be helpful for you to take pictures of the damages before repairs and what it looks like after the repairs are done. 

Additionally, you should document the condition of the unit before the tenant moves in as well as when the tenant moves out. This will protect you in the event that you end up in court with your tenant.

4. Follow all Applicable Laws

It is extremely important that you follow the law, otherwise it can lead to a lawsuit. Be sure you are updated on New York City’s landlord tenant laws. One of the most common that may be violated during inspections and documentation of issues is a tenant’s right to privacy. You must provide tenants with at least a 24 hours notice before an inspection, and you must get consent if you are going to be entering the unit when the tenant is not present.

5. Be Transparent and Communicate With Your Tenant

Being clear and communicating with your tenant is the best way to ensure you are on the same page and avoid any complications. You should inform the tenant on why you are performing inspections, what the condition of the unit is prior to them moving in, and how they can avoid having deductions taken from their security deposit.

Establishing strong lines of communication with your tenants will not only help avoid future miscommunications, but it will also help build a strong, trusting landlord tenant bond.

Outerbridge Law Can Protect Your Livelihood

Even if you follow these best practices, your tenant may not adhere to the lease agreement, and ultimately damage your property. Not only can damages be expensive and time-consuming to repair, but prior damages may make prospective renters less interested. 

In this case, it’s ideal to know your rights as a landlord and be prepared. If you need representation in court, Outerbridge Law has the experience to wisely present your case and protect your livelihood. To learn if you have a case, contact Outerbridge Law today to schedule a consultation.