Not every landlord or management company requires an apartment walkthrough when you move into a new apartment unit, but it’s generally in your best interest to do so. Request one before you move in, if it’s not initiated for you, and check to see that all is well in your new home.
If the owner is unavailable, ask for the representative managing the property in the owner’s absence.
Make sure that working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are in place. (Carbon monoxide detectors are less commonly found but are a good precaution.) Also check the building’s hallways and other common areas for fire safety features.
- If your apartment has bars on the windows, are they approved safety gates that don’t require a key? Also make sure that each sleeping area has an operable window large enough to escape through. Find out what the fire escape plan is for the building and make sure you know where to go.
Doors and windows
- Check to see that all locks and door knobs are secure and not wobbly and that you will be supplied with keys for each lock.
- Try all windows and doors to make sure they open and close properly.
- Are window coverings intact? Note any missing screens. This is also a good opportunity to check for drafts.
- Look around the toilets and under and around every sink to make sure that nothing is damp or dripping.
- Make sure that faucets shut off properly and that all sink stops work.
- Check the tub and sinks for missing grout or tiles.
- Turn the shower on to test for water pressure and hot water temperature. It’s important to find out if you share a hot water heater or if your unit has its own. (This could affect the kind of shower you’ll have in the mornings!)
- Test each appliance to make sure it works properly.
- On the stove, test each burner and the oven/broiler.
- Check the refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, air conditioning/heating system, washer and dryer.
- If the laundry facilities are in a common area, be sure it is clean, bright, well maintained and accessible to residents only.
- It’s a good idea to bring a small appliance with you like a radio or clock to test outlets.
- Turn all the wall switches off and on to make sure they work properly.
- Check the ceilings to make sure there isn’t any water damage, and check the walls for peeling paint or wallpaper.
- Check closets, under sinks and elsewhere for signs of rodents or insects, such as droppings and chew marks.
Your walkthrough is the time to document any concern or problem that exists in the unit. Because this process will likely be repeated with your landlord when you move out, it is typically in your best interest to document or photograph the condition of the unit now to be able to make a comparison later. Documenting a particular existing problem may aid you in recovering your security deposit, in the event you move out of the unit.