We strongly recommend that you insist on conducting a walkthrough before signing a lease, and be sure to bring along our carefully curated apartment walkthrough checklist to make sure you don’t miss a single thing.
Apartment walkthroughs are essential to ensure everything is in tact and works well.
If the owner is unavailable to assist you with a walkthrough, insist that the property manager be there to bear witness to the condition of everything, for both theirs and your records; consider your security deposit!
Below is our apartment walkthrough checklist with all of the things you need to keep an eye out for:
- Floors – Check the floor tiles in the kitchen and bathroom to note the current condition; note whether they have any cracks, stains, missing tiles, etc.
- Walls – Check the walls for peeling paint or wallpaper, possible cracks, stains, holes, and even signs of insect and/or rodent infestations.
- Ceiling – Check the ceiling for signs of water damage and leaking; be sure that you are thorough when doing this.
Check each room, the hallway, and near the ceiling light fixtures.
- Storage – Check the closets (or wardrobes), bathroom cabinets, kitchen cabinetry, etc., one by one and make sure their doors work properly and shelves are stable.
- Escape plans – Probably the most neglected aspect, but most important: make sure that each bedroom or sleeping area has an operable window large enough to escape through in case of emergencies.
Ask for the fire escape plan for the building and their protocol in case of emergencies.
- Fire safety – Check the building’s hallways, as well as your apartment for fire safety features (including fire alarms and sprinklers), as well as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and proper manuals for how to use them.
- Locking – Does the entrance door lock well? Check all the locks, doorknobs and make sure they lock well, open and close with ease, are not wobbly and you’re getting keys that work for each of them.
- Security & alarms – Are there any cameras in the building, the entrance area, hallways, and perhaps the elevator?
If so, who monitors them?
Ask if you are allowed to install your own security alarms if this is something you plan on doing; if you get consent, be sure that it is clearly stated in the lease.
- Bars – If there are bars on the windows, are they according to the usual standards (don’t require a key to open), and does it actually work?
- Water heater – Ask if you share the water heater or if your unit has its own.
- Water pressure – Check the water pressure by running the water (in the bathroom and kitchen) and switch from cold to hot.
Proper pressure should be visible for both temperature settings.
- Bathroom elements – Make sure the faucets and sink stops work well and shut off completely.
Check the tub and sinks for missing grout, tiles, and any other possible damages.
- Water leaks – Make sure nothing is damp, dripping or leaking water.
Check under the sink especially, within the cabinets if there are any.
- Lights – Check all the lights, and ask if you are able to switch the bulbs out.
Turn on-off the wall switches and see if there are any issues observable.
- Electrical outlets – Make sure you know where the electrical panel is, which outlet can support a window-unit air conditioner (if you plan to use one), and also check for the location of the cable/internet/phone jacks.
Check each of the following appliances to make sure they work properly (their doors and/or drawers open/close with ease, their cables are not damaged, each and every burner, options, or speed on them work properly):
- Air conditioning
- Other available kitchen appliances like microwave, garbage disposal, etc.
Remember, your walkthrough is necessary to protect you and your landlord so don’t feel awkward asking for one.
That said, you really should print this apartment walkthrough checklist and bring it with you so you check everything and miss nothing!
Also, by doing so you will show your landlord or property manager that you are a tenant aware of your rights and not someone who can be taken advantage of (no offense to any landlords or managers reading this right now).