Apartment Walkthrough Checklist: This Single Step Can Save You Your Security Deposit

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You’ve beat out the competition for your new place, signed on the dotted line and forked over a hefty amount of cash. But before you move in all willy-nilly, use this apartment walkthrough checklist to make note any fixes needed or damages observed during your final inspection. The landlord, apartment manager or super of the building should be present during this walkthrough and have a punch list of items to go over. If any repairs need to be addressed, this is the time to get it in writing before you move in.

While it’s easy to rush through this step when there’s adrenaline coursing through your veins and movers working on an hourly rate, failure to notice quirks or existing damage could leave you on the hook later. It might slow you down in the moment, but in the long run it will save you headaches and help guarantee you get your security deposit back.

Apartment Walkthrough Checklist

  • Appliances and fixtures: Make sure all appliances included with the rental are functional. Does the stove need to be connected to the gas line? Is the pilot lit? Does the refrigerator’s light work?
  • Electrical and outlets: Ensure that the apartment has power and all outlets and switches are functioning. Speaking of outlets, check to see if there are enough of them. In older apartments, they may not be as plentiful or in optimal locations for your needs. While it is unlikely that your landlord will run new electrical and install more outlets, figuring out the situation prior to moving in will give you an opportunity to plan for a workaround.
  • Water pressure: No one wants to get in the shower only to experience a trickle of water from the shower head or worse, the toilet lacks oomph when flushing. Drains should also be clear of any clogs. Test the water pressure during your walkthrough to identify issues early and have the building management company or landlord rectify.
  • Walls: How many of the walls in the apartment have studs? This may seem like a minor detail, but can lead to a mess if you’re trying to mount something heavy like a TV or bookshelf and there are no studs in the walls to anchor it to. Drilling into solid concrete will leave a crumbly mess.
  • Sweat the small stuff: Make sure that all of the doors have knobs, kitchen cabinets and stove knobs or handles are accounted for and even check to make sure there is a bathtub stopper. Are the cabinets missing shelves? Does the closet have a clothing rod?
  • Heat: It may not seem pertinent to check if the heating system is working during the summer months, but when temperatures drop, you’ll want the heat source to turn on without a hitch. During your walkthrough, double check with the super or landlord that it’s good to go.
  • Check for damaged goods: Most importantly during the walkthrough, you’ll want to take note if anything is broken or damaged. Is the mirror cracked? Does the apartment have large holes in the wall? Are there existing stains or scratches on the floor? If there is damage, take photos so you’ll have proof should any questions about your liability come up. It’s tedious but well worth the reward when you get your deposit returned at the end of your lease.