Are you wondering how to conduct a tenant walk-through inspection in California?

A walk-through inspection is carried out at the start and at the end of every lease.

At the beginning of the lease, its purpose is to check out whether there are any property or maintenance issues prior to the renter moving into the space. And, before the tenancy is terminated, the landlord will conduct another inspection to see if the property’s condition has changed.

Conducting a thorough inspection is important as it protects both parties in accordance with the clauses in the lease document and the laws in place.

So, how do you conduct a walk-through inspection in California?

In this post, we are going over everything you need to know about walk-through inspections in your rental property.

Accurate and Detailed Documentation

From the moment that the tenant moves in, you need to keep a property inventory of the condition of each room and the property’s amenities.

You can create an itemized list that details the property’s initial condition and then the property’s condition upon expiry of the lease. Be sure to have the tenant sign it. Their signature will mean that they agree to the content of the list.

man writing on paper

The Importance of Photos

Be sure to have photo evidence to complement your itemized inspection documents. Take clear photos of every space and electrical appliance. Most photos come with a timestamp feature giving you ample reference to use later on, should there be a disagreement.

It’s also important to back up your photos on a hard drive or on a cloud storage system. Most cloud storage systems are free. That way, if your phone gets lost or breaks, you still have those photos.

Check all Appliances

A thorough inspection means that all items, from appliances to kitchen elements like faucets and valves, are checked. The tenant cannot make a claim later on that a certain element was not working as it should.

Should there be an issue with any appliance or element, call in your reputable professional repair company and have the matter fixed as soon as possible.

Perform the Inspection with the Tenant

There are advantages of asking your tenant to be present during the inspection.

When your tenant is with you, it will minimize the possibility of disagreements in the future. You can agree on what needs repair as per the lease agreement and applicable laws.

In the State of California, the tenant has the right to be present during the walk-through inspection.


Learn California’s Laws

Are you aware of the California laws that govern a walk-through inspection?

Below are some vital tips that you should know and possibly include in your lease agreement.

1. Notice

This applies to when either party seeks to terminate the lease or upon expiry.

Once the landlord has received or sent out a written notice to terminate the lease, they must give notice requesting the tenant to inspect the rental. It must be given “reasonable time” before the end of the lease agreement.

That said, if the tenant doesn’t send a notice requesting an initial inspection, then as a landlord, you don’t have anything to do.

2. Scheduling

In the case whereby a renter asks for an inspection, both parties must agree to a mutually convenient date and time.

When a tenant wants an initial inspection, it cannot be earlier than two weeks to the expiry of the lease time. The landlord must send out a written notice, giving the tenant at least 48 hours’ notice of the date and time of the inspection.

3. Broken-Down Statement

The landlord must prepare an itemized statement of possible repair and cleaning that they believe should be carried out by the tenant. Landlords should be aware that California’s security deposit statute limits the kind of repairs that should be stated.

Tenants are only liable for damage that is a result of negligence and abuse. They are not liable for normal wear and tear.

4. Final Inspection

After the tenant has vacates the space, the landlord may choose to conduct a final inspection. The landlord may choose to deduct from the security deposit if:

  • An item identified in the itemized statement was not repaired
  • Damage occurred after the initial inspection

It is law that the landlord should refund any portion of the deposit within twenty-one calendar days.



We hope this article was helpful!

If you have further questions about conducting a tenant walk-through inspection, contact East Bay Property Management.

Knowledge and experience in rental property management is key to a successful investment. We will stand by you, offering sound advice every step of the way.

If you are looking for property management services for your rental in Castro Valley, Alameda County, Fremont, Dublin, or Livermore, there is no better company to call upon.