Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Nov 16, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Once you have found the perfect rental apartment, condo or house, make sure that you fill out a detailed condition summary before you sign the lease. This document ensures that you have checked to determine if everything is in working order before you move in and, at the end of the lease, that you are not charged for pre-existing defects or damages.

With a checklist in hand, walk through the apartment room by room with your landlord. If your landlord does not have a checklist, you can create your own or download the one below.

Point out — and photograph — excessive wear or unsatisfactory condition of floors, walls, carpeting, window coverings, etc. Raise and lower shades and blinds. Be specific about holes in walls, tears in fabric, scratches on cabinets or wood trim, peeling paint or other problems, no matter how minor they may seem at the time.

Confirm that all light fixtures and toilets are in good working order. Turn on the faucets in the sinks and showers to make sure that there is sufficient water pressure. Check for leaks in and under sinks and around plumbing fixtures. Look at the ceiling, walls and floors for water stains or signs of mildew, mold and pest infestation.

Inspect windows and doors to make sure that they open and lock properly, that screens are not broken and that there are no chips or cracks in the glass. Test the appliances, smoke detectors, air-conditioning and heating systems. Walk outside and note the condition of the walkway, siding, roof, stairway, porch, balcony or other areas for which you would be responsible.

Following the inspection, have your landlord sign the checklist as proof of the agreed-upon condition of the property. Clarify the terms of the security deposit. Determine who is responsible for repairs and what is considered normal ‘wear and tear’ while you reside there.

Take the time before you move so as to reduce the chance of disagreement when you move out.

Rental Walkthrough Checklist

Bathroom Condition: Damaged/clean/dirty/broken/cracks Date Done
Plumbing; check the faucets, drains, and toilet for leaks or other issues Notes:    
Floors, walls, ceilings; check for water damage, mold, mildew, and cracks, and pay close attention to the grout and tiling      
Mirrors; note any cracks      
Door and windows; check for water damage, sealing problems, check lock, screens      
Light fixtures and electrical outlets; exhaust fan      
Small fixtures such as towel racks, toilet paper holder      
Kitchen Condition: Damaged/clean/dirty/broken/cracks Date Done
Stove Notes    
Refrigerator      
Dishwasher      
Sink and faucets (particularly rust) and drain, especially under the sink      
Garbage disposal      
Oven hood or exhaust fans      
Cabinets; check shelves, handles, water or steam damage, leaks under the sink      
Countertops; check for chips or cracks, marks or stains      
Floors, walls, ceilings; check for water damage, mold, holes or cracks, chipped paint      
Light fixtures and electrical outlets      
Doors and windows; pay particular attention to the locks, screens      
Living Room and Bedrooms Condition: Damaged/clean/dirty/stains/broken Date Done
Floors, walls, ceilings; check for scratches, stains on carpet, chipped paint, nail holes in the wall, cracks in the walls or ceiling, mold or mildew damage Notes:    
Doors and windows; pay particular attention to the locks, screens      
Light fixtures and electrical outlets      
Blinds or window treatments      
Overall/Miscellaneous Condition: Broken/clean/dirty/damaged Date Done
Heating and air conditioning Notes    
Closets; check shelves, mirrors, rods, door and lock      
Smoke detectors      
Fireplace      
Phone and cable jacks      
Check the exterior of rental house for all similar issues      
Signs of pest infestation – insects, rodents, etc.      
Screens / Storm Windows