Common Move Out Inspection Mistakes to Avoid as a Fayetteville Landlord or Property Manager

When you are a landlord or property manager in Fayetteville, North Carolina, there are several things you must consider when a tenant is vacating a property.

Just as it is your responsibility to make the move in process easy for your tenant, it is equally important that you take steps to ensure your investment is in good condition when the tenant is going through the move out procedure. 

The same diligence is appropriate whether you own or manage one property, multiple single family units, or multi-family units. 

Here is a list of some of the top move out inspections you should avoid as a landlord or property manager in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Promising the Tenant They Will Receive Their Full Security Deposit 


Never, without question, promise a tenant that they will receive their full security deposit back.  It is common for a tenant to ask when they will receive their security deposit back, and how much of their deposit they will receive.  This is common when a tenant, who I strapped for cash, also has to provide a security deposit for another rental unit.

You should not agree to a specific date, or amount, either verbally or in some written form (text, email, or other).

Prior to promising the tenant they will receive their full security deposit, conduct a thorough inspection of the property to ensure that the property is exactly the same condition, minus normal wear and tear, as when the tenant moved into the property. 

A comprehensive inspection guarantees you are not over promising what you can’t deliver, especially if there are damages to your property. 

It is important to note that in North Carolina you have 30 days after the tenant vacates to return the security deposit.  If there are deficiencies, you must provide the tenant with an itemized list, as well as the cost of the deductions. 

Security deposit law in North Carolina is comprehensive, and is often done incorrectly by landlords and property management companies in Fayetteville.  Neglectful practices often lead to costly court costs.  We recommend downloading our Comprehensive Guide to Security Deposits at the end of this blog, to obtain a more focused understanding of the applicable law.

Having the Tenant With You During the Final Walk Through Inspection


While it may seem like a good course of action to have the tenant with you during your final inspection, there are a number of inherent complications with this course of action.

First, it sometimes creates unnecessary pressure between you and the tenant.  The tenant is eager to have the property inspection completed, and will question every deficiency you notice. 

As a landlord, investor or property manager in Fayetteville, North Carolina, it is your responsibility to clearly, objectively, and un-passionately document all deficiencies with the property.  Germane to this is your responsibility to calculate the cost for repair or replacement, to get your investment rent ready.

This can only be done correctly when the tenant is not present for the move out inspection.

Second, the tenant can temporarily cover up stains, odors, and other deficiencies in your investment property without your knowledge, and which aren’t readily apparent.  If you conduct the move out inspection with your tenant, it gives the tenant to temporarily correct these shortcomings, such as offensive odors, which you may not notice until days or weeks later. 

Conducting your property move out inspection days or even a week after the tenant has vacated may make temporary patches more obvious.

Failing to Communicate the Move Out Inspection Plan With the Tenant

You should place the move out inspection on your calendar, as well as the tenants, as soon as possible.  Ideally finalization should be a month before the tenant moves out.  It also gives the tenant a firm deadline by which to have your investment property returned to almost rent ready condition.

Proper communication between the landlord and the tenant will ensure everything goes smoothly, and that the relationship between you and your tenant ends amicably.

Failing to Write Detailed Move Out Inspection Reports

Detailed inspection reports are an absolute necessity.  They protect both yours and your tenant’s interests.  Property management companies in Fayetteville are notorious for not providing detailed reports, and more often than not, this ends up costing you as a property owner a lot of headaches.

Your property management report should include not only a checklist, but also should include both photo and video evidence.  The checklist, photos, and videos can then be compared to those that were taken during the move in inspection, to illustrate damage caused by the tenant.

As a reminder, the checklist does not only apply to the interior of the property, but should also comprehensively cover the exterior of the property, including all structures on the property itself.

Don’t Get Over Your Head as a Fayetteville, North Carolina Property Investor

Move in and move out inspections can cause landlords headaches, especially when the financial costs of failing to do so are realized.

At Linchpin Property Management, we have developed a comprehensive guide for landlords to use when conducting both the move in and move out inspection.  You can download your free copy below

The Team at Linchpin Property Management.