Inspecting the Property

When viewing a rental unit, be prepared to inspect for problems or damage. Completing an unit condition checklist may save you time and money at the end of your lease. This checklist will serve as proof of the condition of the unit at the time of rental, in case there is a dispute about damage.

When you complete your Unit Condition Checklist, have your landlord sign it and then give him/her a copy and keep a copy for yourself.

Health and Safety Checklist

A picture is worth a thousand words...
It is a good idea to take detailed pictures of the unit before moving in.
If there is any dispute about the condition of the unit when you move out, the pictures will serve as good evidence. Save these pictures along with a copy of the Unit Condition Checklist.

  • Cracks in the floors or walls
  • Signs of leaks or water damage.
  • Signs of rust in water taps (be sure to turn on faucets)
  • Leaks in bathroom or kitchen fixtures
  • Lack of hot water (check size of hot water tank; ask how many units share one tank)
  • Defective heating or air conditioning
  • Improper ventilation and lighting
  • Defects in or exposed electrical wiring and fixtures
  • Damage to flooring and carpeting, including stains and tears
  • Damage to furnishings and window coverings
  • Signs of mildew or mold
  • Broken appliances (turn on stove burners, garbage disposal, refrigerator, etc.)
  • Insect or rodent infestations, especially in cabinets, under sinks, and around baseboards
  • What is the maintenance policy? Who is responsible for fixing what?
  • Is there a fire escape?
  • Does the unit have at least one smoke detector?

Lifestyle Checklist

  • Who else lives in the complex (single professionals, families, etc.)?
  • How is the safety of the nightlife in the area? Do you feel comfortable?
  • How is the noise level in the area? Is there a fire station or a busy street nearby?
  • Where is the heating?
  • Is there enough closet or storage space?
  • Are on-site laundry facilities available?
  • Ask about the painting schedule. If the landlord promises to paint the unit before you move in, get this in writing.
  • Check the conditions of public areas, such as entrances and hallways. That is a good indicator of the quality of the maintenance you can expect.
  • Check to see if there is sufficient overhead lighting or if you would have to provide supplemental lighting.

Property Security Checklist

  • Are the building and grounds well maintained?
  • Are the stairways, sidewalks, and parking areas well lit?
  • Is there an intercom system?
  • Are the exterior doors kept locked?
  • Are curtains, blinds, or shades provided?
  • Are there abandoned buildings and/or graffiti on buildings in the neighborhood?
  • Exterior door:
    Is it solid core wood or metal?
    Have hinges on the inside, not the outside?
    Does the door fit tightly in the doorframe (no more than 1/8" clearance)?
    What type of security does the unit have (door knob locks, deadbolt lock, peephole, etc.)?
    Do tree, weeds, or bushes obscure the door?
  • Windows and sliding glass doors
    Are they reinforced by a solid strip of wood (e.g. broom handle) in the track?
    Do they have security bars to prevent entry?
    Are there sturdy locks on all windows?
    Do trees, weeds, or bushes obscure the window?

 

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