Apartment Condition Report:
Before entering into a legally binding contract such as a lease, it is crucial for the tenant to make sure that all provisions are made in order to ensure the proper return of their security deposit. Sometimes, a landlord calls the deposit a damage deposit. You should refer to the language in your specific rental or lease agreement to determine any peculiarities associated with how such a deposit is used. If no law exists to prevent the landlord from using the deposit in ways the contract states, then the actual contract will rule in a court of law. A security deposit is paid upon occupancy in the event that during the tenancy, no damage is done to the dwelling. A deposit is usually in the amount of one full month's rent or one half of a month's rent. One such crucial provision that can be made is what is called the apartment condition report. This is a checklist of damages noted in detail of the apartment before moving in. It is then completed once again at the termination of the tenancy. These reports should cover every room, fixture, and appliance in the apartment. When it is completed and signed by both tenant and landlord, make sure both parties retain copies and one is attached to the lease.
Follow the format suggested by the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington Attorney General's Office for protection and convenience. You can find a great template for a move in property inspection form at this site. Remember, if you lose your security deposit and damage report had not been completed and signed, there is not much you can do.