Apartment Walkthrough Checklist

The Resort at Tanamera Apartments in Reno, NV

The Resort at Tanamera Apartments in Reno, NV

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.

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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!)

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  • 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.

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General condition

  • 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.

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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.

24 thoughts on “Apartment Walkthrough Checklist

  1. It is a good idea to check behind the refrigerator – is the floor clean? If not, it might prevent you from getting your deposit back later . Also, if you can get drinking water and ice cubes through the door, ask when the filter was last replaced?

  2. Good tips! Ice and water filters… had not thought of it. Just the big items: toilet flushes, water stains, rug stains, windows and alarms. We should also check the filters in the heating and AC areas: are they clean and have they been replaced, and how often?

  3. The apartment I moved into did not ALLOW an inspection as they were taking longer to clean it than I had time to move out of my old place!

    I HAD to take the apartment without an inspection. DON’T FALL FOR THIS!!!


  4. Thank you for the tips. Now I know what to look for when I move next month, as well as what to fix before I move out of my current residence so I can get my deposit back.

  5. The information that your article provided is indeed useful. It is a good idea to check fire escape plans. And Sue is right, it is good to keep a camera during inspection to document what you need to fix or what you want to be fixed.

  6. Thank u for having these tips online, I learned the hard way and got ripped off when I was younger and rented some of the first apartments I lived in. Rarely got any of the deposits back and was blamed for things that I didn’t do, i video tape my walk throughs now with any landlords!
    U may think that your landlord is the nicest person on earth, but its amazing how quickly people change when you are moving out and money is involved!
    Thank you for your article!

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  12. We are searching for an apartment in the area of (in PA) northend of Pottstown, Gilbertsville, Limerick, Boyertown, Oley, Exeter, Mt. Penn, Elverson, and surrounding areas. We have two adult cats that MUST move with us, and the rent that we can afford is $775, heat, A/C inclusive. I know it is not much to work with, but, we are low income (husband is no longer able to work). After the cats being allowed, and being within our price range, the next thing is absolutley safe! We don’t consider ourselves “fussy” but we want a home where common areas are maintained, and I should mention we are 59 and 60 (disabled husband on Social Security Disability), so senior apartments are just fine! We are looking for 1-2 bedrooms, bathroom (WITH BATHTUB), kitchen, and living room. A washer/dryer area in the apartment itself would be wonderful and a patio would be such a plus! If we had a choice between carpeting throughout, or laminate, etc, we would prefer not to have carpeting, but of course are open to it. We need a place where there is not a far walk from the parking space and not too many steps to go up and down. I think that gives you a pretty big picture! Thanks so much for reading my post! Oh, it could be a rental in a complex, or a part of a house.
    Susan (TheStompfs@aol.com)

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