When moving into a new rental property, there are many logistics for tenants to consider. Amidst the many tasks and responsibilities, it can be easy to overlook some of the key processes that tenants should be prioritizing during move-in. To help you avoid that common problem, here is a tenant checklist of items that should be completed to help make your move and tenancy smooth and successful.
Review and Sign the Lease
Your lease contains important legal information, the terms of the rental agreement, and the responsibilities and expectations for both the landlord and tenants. As such, it’s important that all occupants read and understand the lease agreement prior to move-in. It’s tempting to sign a lease without thoroughly reviewing it and to just assume it contains standard legal jargon. However, making this mistake can lead to a variety of problems, including unintentional violations of the lease.
When reviewing your lease, it’s particularly important to pay attention to some key terms, including:
- The amount of rent due
- When rent is due each month
- When late fees are assigned and how much they are
- The term of the lease – i.e., when it starts and ends
- The number of people allowed to occupy the property
- Whether or not pets are allowed
Additionally, when reviewing the lease, it’s important to pay attention to all rules and regulations that tenants are required to follow. Some key provisions to look for and to be aware of are requirements that tenants:
- Don’t cause a disturbance to neighbors
- Abide by all federal, state, and local laws
- May never use a security deposit as rent
- May be responsible for minor repairs (it’s important to thoroughly review the lease for a complete list of maintenance responsibilities)
If you have any questions about the lease, ask the landlord. Violating any terms of the lease can lead to fines or eviction, so it’s important to understand all terms prior to move-in.
Turn on Utility Services
After reading the lease, you should know what utilities – electric, gas, or water – that you’re responsible for. Prior to move-in, you’ll want to arrange to have these services turned on. Generally, you have to schedule this a few days in advance, so plan ahead to ensure that all utilities are on when you take possession.
Purchase Renters Insurance
Your landlord’s insurance will not cover your personal belongings. Instead, renter’s insurance is necessary to protect your personal property. While some landlords require renter’s insurance, all do not. Nevertheless, it’s recommended that all renters purchase renter’s insurance to protect their personal property and other incidentals.
Familiarize Yourself with Key Elements of the Property
While you’ll obviously get to know the property once you move in, there are some aspects of it that you need to be familiar with prior to moving in. As a baseline, you should know some things that would bein your tenant checklist:
- Where the electrical breaker box is
- Where the main water shutoff is
- Waste management rules and logistics (for example, day of pickup, what will be picked up, what can be recycled)
- Relevant parking rules and regulations
Understand Landscaping and Maintenance Responsibilities
Prior to move-in, it’s key that you understand who is responsible for all aspects of landscaping. Additionally, tenants should be familiar with property maintenance responsibilities and have a clear understanding of what they are responsible for.
As part of this understanding, tenants should know the procedure for handling all types of maintenance issues. Good communication is key for ensuring that the property is consistently well-maintained and in good condition. To help facilitate this, tenants should understand who to call or contact when issues arise.
Walkthrough and Inspect the Property
You should complete a thorough walkthrough tenant checklist before moving in, including an inspection of each room. During this walkthrough, it’s important to note and communicate any damage or concerns to your landlord. When you move out, you’ll be responsible for leaving the property in the same condition that you found it and will be charged for any damage, even if it exceeds your security deposit. The initial walkthrough is a key part of avoiding being held responsible for damage you didn’t cause.
A smooth move-in can help to ensure that you have a successful tenancy and enjoy your new rental. This checklist should help guide you through the process. Additionally, checkout ezLandlord Forms for additional resources to help you have a successful rental experience.