Friday, December 2, 2011

TIP for Landlords and Tenants: The Walkthroughs

One way to help landlords protect their investment and tenants protect their rights is to build paired walkthroughs into the rental transaction process.

1) After the lease is signed, but before the tenant moves in, the landlord should arrange for a walkthrough of the apartment or house with the tenant before they move in. Take photos! Use a standard form and let tenants describe in writing anything that they see that they are concerned may look like damage to the landord at the end of the lease.  Both sign this document. The tenant gets the original - the landloard keeps a copy of the document and photos.

2) Have a walkthrough after the tenant moves out. Take photos! Document the condition of the apartment or house. Give the tenant the opportunity to sign. Give tenant a copy. This is the landlord's  documentation of damages (if any) that might reduce the tenant's security deposit. Tenants can use this opportunity to document the condition for themselves so that if disputes come up later, they have their own records.

This general idea was presented by Peter Giardini, the speaker  at last night's Hub City Real Estate Investors Association meeting in Hagerstown. The REIA is a "venue for networking and learning for real estate investors". It is also a great place to learn tips, laws, best practices, etc. for real estate investments. Last night's topic was Rentals and Landlording. Peter has been a longtime landlord and had many tips for how to run a rental property last night. Has his own real estate blog.