Normal wear and tear is a part of renting that every landlord expects. But what’s considered normal and what’s considered damage can depend on the condition when you first move into an apartment. That’s why it’s important to fill out an Inventory and Condition Form when you first move in to your new place.
What Is an Inventory and Condition Form?
In a nutshell, the Inventory and Condition Form is a document that the new tenant uses to note the condition of an apartment when they move in. Because normal wear and tear isn’t always repaired right away, there’s a good chance an apartment won’t be 100% perfect. The Inventory and Condition Form serves as a baseline for determining the wear, tear and damage that happens while you are a resident.
When your lease is up, the property manager or landlord will use this same form to note the condition of the apartment upon move out. It’s common for the Inventory and Condition Form to play a major part in whether or not you get your full deposit back. That’s why it’s so important to fill out an Inventory and Condition Form even if your property manager doesn’t require it.
What Needs to be Noted in the Inventory and Condition Form?
Essentially, you should carefully record the condition of every room, appliance and feature in the apartment inside and out. The more detailed you are the better. If there is any sort of pre-existing damage this most certainly needs to noted, but even minor deficiencies need to be written down so you don’t end up on the hook for it.
Tips for Filling Out the Inventory and Condition Form
Take Pictures – Photographs help to back up the claims you make on the Inventory and Conditions Form. You don’t have to take pictures of everything, but snap a few pics of any damage or significant wear and tear then email them to your property manager.
Take It Room by Room – The standard Inventory and Condition Form makes it easy to go room by room, because it’s broken down into sections. Before you move onto the next room, double check to make sure you’ve addressed every point.
Fill It Out Before You Move In – It’s much easier to spot problems before all of your things are taking up space in the apartment. Make filling out the Inventory and Conditions form the first to-do on your moving checklist.
Include the Exterior – It’s easy to forget that you’re responsible for the outside of the doors, windows and patio of the apartment. All of these areas need to be inspected and included on the form. Test the locks, latches and doorbell in addition to looking for cosmetic flaws.
Test All the Appliances – Anything that is operable, including the lights and smoke detectors, should be tested. If something isn’t working quite right it should be noted in the Inventory and Condition Form, but you’ll also need to fill out a separate written request if you want it fixed.
Make Sure the Utilities are Turned On – The only way to accurately check everything in the apartment is to have the water, gas and electricity already on. Without it there’s no way to test lights, appliances, etc.
Make a Copy for Yourself – You’ll need to turn the Inventory and Condition Form back in to the property manager. At that time request that they make you a copy for your own records. It’s best to have a copy that is signed by both parties, but at the very least have a copy of what you turn in.
Make Sure You Get It Done by the Deadline – If the Inventory and Condition Form is required it will be noted in the lease and there is usually a deadline for when it needs to be completed.
Get the Landlord’s Signature – Once you’ve completed, signed and turned in the form the landlord or property manager should look it over and sign the form as well. This signifies that they have acknowledged your comments and accept them as fact.
Written by Ace Elliott, Apartments.com