Wear and Tear Checklist for Landlords

Most successful landlords understand the importance of a move-out checklist. It’s the document that requires both landlord and tenant to go through the rental property a week or so before the tenant moves out.
It gives the landlord a chance to officially record the condition of the unit in the presence of the tenant to assess if there are any damages to the property. However, every property experiences wear and tear, and often those do not get recorded, and subsequently not addressed when turning the unit over.
Other times, landlords prepping a unit for turnover might think that the condition of the property is good enough, or they are so familiar with the property that certain wear and tear issues just aren’t noticed. Remember that showing an empty unit is a big part of attracting the right applicants, and sometimes the smallest thing gone wrong can turn visitors away from your perfectly good rental property.
If your rental property can pass through this checklist with flying colors, you are well on your way to meeting even the highest expectations.

List of Normal Wear and Tear Items to Check

  1. Perform a test of each smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.
  2. Plug something (like an alarm clock or your cell phone) into each electrical outlet to ensure they are all operating properly.
  3. Turn on every light to make sure everything has new light bulbs and that the lights themselves are functioning.
  4. If the rental property has a sliding glass door and screen door, open and close them several times to see that they meet no resistance on their tracks.
  5. Examine every window by sliding it open and closed, and testing every lock.
  6. Look at every window screen to see that they are whole and operational.
  7. Raise and lower every blind and also use the rod to turn the slats up and down to verify that each one works properly.
  8. Inspect the paint on walls, baseboards and ceilings to make sure you didn’t miss any holes, scratches or flaking paint.
  9. Check out all the door hardware in the rental unit. Open and close each door several times to ensure they are smooth and not “sticky.” Double check that the front door has been rekeyed and that it opens smoothly.
  10. Look closely at the weather stripping around all exterior doors to make sure that it forms a tight seal to better regulate temperatures.
  11. Test the toilet paper holder and towel bars to see that they are secure in the wall and not loose in their brackets.
  12. Run all the faucets to ensure they operate properly. You are looking for proper drainage as well as adequate water pressure. Look under the sinks to ensure there is no moisture or drips.
  13. Flush all the toilets and check the back and base for leaks. Open the tank and double check that the ball cock assembly is not only working, but working efficiently. Look at the rubber flap to make sure it is not warped, causing water to seep out into the toilet so that it constantly runs.
  14. Test every appliance in the unit to ensure that it operates properly. Don’t just assume that because your tenant never complained about them that they are working optimally. Run the dishwasher for a cycle, turn on the oven and turn on each burner on the stove.
  15. Turn on both the heating and cooling systems for the property, and don’t forget to monitor the filters, vents, and thermostat.
  16. Look into every closet to test the rods and any shelving there for looseness.
  17. Test all railings in the home to ensure they aren’t loose or wobbly.
  18. Walk the whole perimeter of the property and look at fencing, landscaping and vegetation. Keep an eye out for garbage, discarded or forgotten items like toys, and any hazards like holes or broken boards with nails.
  19. Stand across the street from the rental property and pay attention to anything amiss that catches your eye. Examples include loose roof shingles, overgrown shrubs, or a broken fence slat.
  20. Remove all equipment, possessions and repair items completely. Commonly overlooked things include cleaning supplies, painter’s tape, your 32-oz. Diet Coke, toolbox and small pieces of garbage.

Taking the time to check out these issues in your rental property in between tenants is the best way to get ahead of more major repairs and set your unit up for showings. Even the pickiest applicants won’t find anything to complain about and you’ll have a lot less to do over the coming year when it comes to maintenance.


  1. What if they smoked (a LOT) and you now have to get that smell out of the house? (This is coming up at the end of August too).

  2. Great seeing you in this neck of the woods Tom!
    If your tenant was allowed to smoke in the house, I would charge the cost of professional cleaning as excessive wear and tear. Obviously document everything and get the tenant’s signature on the security deposit disbursement to avoid any disagreements.
    If they were not allowed to smoke, I would treat the condition of the unit as a damage versus normal wear and tear. This way, if they’re being evicted or abandon the property you can add the charges to a past due amount above and beyond what the security deposit covers in the event you find more damages.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.