Residential Lease Inventory & Condition Form

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New renters are often confronted with the infamous “Residential Lease Inventory and Condition Form.” This form is usually accompanied by a strict timeline to complete and return to the landlord. First-time tenants are often confused as to what the purpose of the form is, how detailed it needs to be, and question when it comes into play during the tenancy? Let’s take a closer look at this commonly used form when renting an apartment or single-family home.

Normal wear and tear is part of the renting experience that every landlord expects. However, what’s considered normal and what’s considered damage can depend on the condition of the rental property when you first move in. As you may have gleaned, this is why it’s crucial to thoroughly fill out the Inventory and Condition Form when you first move into your new rental abode.

What is an Inventory & Condition Form?

The Inventory and Condition Form is a document that a new tenant uses to notate the condition of a rental property when they move in. Often, normal wear and tear items, such as nail holes on the wall or cosmetic scratches on wood floors, are not repaired right away, there’s a high likelihood that the rental unit won’t be in perfect condition and free of minor flaws. The Inventory and Condition Form serves as a baseline for determining the wear, tear, and damage that happens while you are a resident during your tenancy.

Keep in mind that when your lease ends, the property manager or landlord will use this same form to record the condition of the rental upon move out. It’s common for the Inventory and Condition Form to play an integral role in whether or not you receive your full security deposit back. Another common occurrence is a situation where the property manager hands you the Inventory and Condition Form at the onset of the lease but insists that completing the form is not required. As you can see, not completing the form and returning it in a timely manner would be a colossal mistake. This form is essentially your only piece of evidence and source of defense from accusations of damage at the end of your lease term.

What Should you Include in the Inventory & Condition Form?

This is a common question by tenants who are new to the renting process. We advise that you walk into each room of the house and meticulously record the condition of each room, bathroom, and appliance, both inside and outside of the home. Remember that the more detailed you are the better. Your notes should be concise, complete, and accompanies with a photo of each piece of damage that you find. In today’s day and age, snapping a quick time-stamped photo from your cell phone is effortless, and will save you a potential disagreement in the future. It’s integral to note any pre-existing damage as well as minor deficiencies and imperfections so that you are not held liable at the end of your lease.

Can you Share Some Pointers when Filling out the Inventory & Condition Form?

  • Take photos – Time-stamped pictures help to back up the claims you make on the Inventory and Conditions Form. You don’t have to take photos of every small thing, but be sure to take a few pictures of any damage or significant wear and tear. It’s best to email the photos with the Inventory & Condition Form to your property manager or landlord.
  • Fill It Out Before You Move In – It’s much easier to identify defects before all your furniture and boxes clutter the rental property. Make filling out the Inventory and Conditions form the first task on your to-do list.
  • Test All 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 repair request if you want it fixed.
  • Include the Exterior – It’s easy to forget that you’re responsible for the outside of the doors, windows, and patio of the rental property. All of these areas need to be inspected and included in the form. Test the locks, latches, and doorbell in addition to looking for cosmetic flaws.
  • Make Sure the Utilities are Turned On – The only way to accurately check everything in the home is to have the water, gas, and electricity already on. Without it, there’s no way to test the lights, appliances, etc.
  • Complete it 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. Be sure to comply with this deadline strictly and do not be late in turning it into your landlord or property manager.

A few last reminders worth mentioning are to make a copy for yourself of the completed Inventory & Condition Form. Your copy will serve as a record that you did indeed turn it on time and will also serve as evidence for the true condition of the home at the time you moved in. Additionally, once you’ve completed, signed, and turned in the form to your landlord or property manager, he/she should look it over and sign the form as well. This signifies that they have acknowledged your comments and accept them as fact.

The Inventory & Condition Form is a crucial document in the residential lease process and should be given the credence that it deserves. Do not make the rookie mistake of overlooking or ignoring this form. In reality, this document may be the one thing standing between you and the return of your security deposit at the end of your lease term. Take your time and complete the form in its entirety with photos as proof to justify your comments and damage claims.

I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not “do you have any questions?” But rather “what questions do you have?”

As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!

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