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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 
my tenant is moving out at the end of March. as our relationship is not great (currently communication is only thru email).

i'm looking for tips on how to have a peaceful ( not-dramatic) vacating of the unit, while at hte same time ensuring that i'm legally covered for any security deposit charges that may need to be deducted from her deposit.

suggestions that i got online:
A) email a checklist of things  to clean (stove, fridge, etc.) prior to departure
B) set up an moveout inspection of the apt with the tenant.
         during the appointment, it is recommended to:
  1. make a list that is signed by both parties stating what items need to be taken care of by her before moving out. 
  2. any items not taken care of will be deducted from deposit.

now, step #2---even though i'm sure that would probably protect me legally, has me worried.   is it really necessary for me to physically meet with this woman?  the tenant's attitude towards me is pretty anatogonistic. (her emails are aggressive in tone: filled with judgements  on my character; prone to hints of possible legal complications for me.)

so far, I have maintained a professional, non-judgemental tone in all correspondence with her. however, i'm not sure, if i could maintain this sort of demeanour, if under verbal attack in person.  since i know this about myself, i'd really like to avoid the potential for a confrontational scene.

i have thought about having my maintenance guy meet with her instead.
but that is not really an option, since he is not attention detailed and would miss obvious areas of cleanup that need to be addressed.

the only method that i've considered at this point, is: to record the meeting, with her knowledge.  perhaps this will solicit better conduct from her?

any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
thank you!


Posts: 445
Reply with quote  #2 

take pictures or video at move out also.


Posts: 60
Reply with quote  #3 
Is it possible to have your maintenance man meet her to collect the keys and do an initial inspection?  Then you could follow up with a detailed inspection prior to returning any deposit money.

Also, you could bring the maint man with you as witness and a buffer if her behavior starts getting out of hand.


Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Littlerhody,

Whether or not you are required to do a joint walk through before your tenant moves out depends on the state in which your property is located.  I can tell you for a fact that California definitely requires it.  There are a few other states that do, but most do not.  If you go to the home page you will find a list of what are called "Invaluable Legal Guides" just above or below the cut line, depending on your setup.  Consult the one dealing with security deposits.  It will let you know whether or not a pre-moveout inspection is required in your state.

One thing you should always do if you have such an inspection, required or not, is to bring a camera, preferably digital with lots and lots of memory, and use it liberally to document the condition of the unit.  This is especially true if your relationship with the tenant has been rocky.  Bringing a witness, as suggested in another post, is also a good idea.  Keep the photographs ready to print as needed if disputes arise.

Finally, never commit to a security deposit refund of any amount unless your tenant has all of his stuff in the moving truck and has handed you the keys to the place, and even then make your estimates tentative if you suspect there may be problems that require the intervention of professionals.  All states give you some time to make your security deposit accounting.  The reason for this is to give you the opportunity to make a painstaking inspection for damage, and, in case you are doing this before the tenant's moveout, you never know what kind of damage may occur after your joint inspection.  The time delay between moveout and refund deadline is a valuable safety feature you should not waste by making firm commitments before you have to.

Hope this helps,


Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #5 
Agreed.  If your state doesn't require the move out inspection, just don't do it.  Tell her to do her own documentation and she will receive the itemized list from you within your stste's time limit.  Doing a walk through with a antagonistic tenant only leads to an argument.  They argue it was like that at move in, they didn't do it, it is  wear & tear (not damages), etc.

Drop her off a list of all things she needs to do before move out (cleaning instructions, replacement of light bulbs, returning your window coverings to the windows, replacing any broken or damaged items, shampooing the carpet if clean at move in, etc.)  Basically remind her that she needs to leave the unit in the same condition as when she received it.

When she has left, do your own inspection - several times, at different times of the day.  You'd be amazed what you see at different times and what you have missed.  Check out every fixture, window, door, switch and outlet, etc.  Prepare that itemized statement and mail it to the forwarding along with the deposit check within the time line.  Never sign off on any condition statement at move out.  Never hand back the deposit at move out.  You will always find something you missed - and sometimes those things are expensive finds!

Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you, everyone for all the helpful advice.

So according to's SD legal guide, RI doesn't require walk-in inspection (whew.)

A friend of mine, said he does the walkthru with everyone, ever since he had a tenant take him to court, on the grounds that he deliberately damaged the property after tenant's move-out.

anyone come across that sort of situation?

Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #7 

You can avoid that by documenting the damages thoroughly (written, dated photos, witnesses, 3rd party statements such as contractors, etc.)  I refuse to do walkthoughs with argumentative tenants.  I have no problem with the majority, but I won't do it with those that just want to debate damages.  The tenants that would accuse you of damaging the place after they left will be the ones who stand there and argue the same damages to your face.


Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #8 
Originally Posted by OHlandlord

 The tenants that would accuse you of damaging the place after they left will be the ones who stand there and argue the same damages to your face.

Ah, that's definitely true.

So glad to have found this forum!  I'm feeling much more positive about the situation now.  Will keep everyone posted on how this all plays out.
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