It may seem like a simple thing, but performing a proper move out checklist can make a huge difference for a property’s bottom line
If you’re not performing a move out inspection correctly, you’re missing out on resident charges and damages that should be charged back to the tenant ledger. There are a number of reasons that that happens.
Reasons Your Move Out Checklist Goes Wrong
Number one, a move out inspection may not be performed thoroughly. Someone on-site may not be familiar with all the intricacies of the move out process. They’re not checking for everything that they should be.
Second, consistency is important. You want to make sure everybody is looking for the same things. They might not be assessing the right values for items that need repair or replacement.
You need to provide some consistency. That way people are always reporting those values in the same way.
Third, you may inspect everything and assign the right value, but the information might never make it to the tenant ledger. You need a way to make sure that all of the data is pushed into the tenant ledger. That’s the basis for proper statements of deposit accounting (SODA).
A lot of these steps are missed daily because properties aren’t using a digital move in, move out checklist like the one in Leonardo247.
What’s in an Effective Move Out Checklist?
A move out checklist should capture the unit’s status and what needs to be repaired or replaced. That includes every piece of equipment, furniture, finish, carpet, and appliance in that unit.
An effective checklist compares those responses against the status of those elements at move in. This way, you can easily compare the changes and demonstrate any damage that legitimately belongs as a resident charge.
Capturing that data, and getting the resident to sign off on the condition of the unit, is a game-changer. Suddenly, you’re producing statements of deposit accounting that aren’t controversial. You won’t have to argue with your resident about what their charges are.
Further, if you do end up going to court, you’ve got documentation. You can substantiate the charges at move out versus the charges at move in. And you can show why you included the charges against the tenant ledger.
Oftentimes, the move out inspection is done but that information never makes it into the PM system. Onsite operations are chaotic. Balls can get dropped when there isn’t an automated process to make sure that things happen consistently, every time, in the same way. And that can happen if you don’t have a system like Leonardo 247 in place.
3 Benefits of an Automated Move Out Checklist
Let’s say someone notes in the PM system that a unit is on notice or a tenant is going to move out. Leonardo247 can automatically launch a move out inspection. It happens automatically, and the checklist that needs to get completed also gets pushed out automatically.
If it doesn’t happen, the Leonardo system notices. We raise our hand and point out that an inspection hasn’t happened yet. And when it’s done, that information goes back into Leonardo247 and the PMS system to help create the resident charges. The SODA also happens automatically.
1. Standardized & Consistent Workflows
There are a few hidden values in having a thorough and detailed move out checklist.
Number one, regardless of the experience of the person who’s doing the inspection, you’re going to get the same thorough inspection every time. It will be done the same way, with the same standard of charges. And that removes any of the guesswork from whoever’s performing that move out inspection as to how it should be performed.
When you standardize your move in and move out inspection workflow, you can consistently compare the status of that unit at move in versus move out. Doing that removes the argument between yourself and the resident as to whether or not the charges allocated against the tenant ledger are legitimate.
2. Timely Tenant Ledger Charges
You’ve got proof. You have photos and an inspection that they’ve signed at move in, and you have photos and an inspection that they sign at move out. That removes all the guesswork. More importantly, it creates consistency. You know you’re applying the right charges. There’s no bias.
Further, if you have a system that automatically puts the move out inspection and tenant charges into your PMS, your statements of deposit accounting and tenant ledger accounting are happening automatically every time.
There’s also no gap in inspections. You won’t hear from property managers who looked at the unit but forgot to put something on the tenant ledger. It won’t be too late because they moved out two weeks ago. A lot of revenue is lost in failing to inform the resident what the charges against their tenant ledger are in a timely fashion. And with a proper move out, detailed move out inspection, that problem just goes away.
3. Optimized Turnover and Unit Upgrades
In addition to standardizing workflows and tenant ledger charges, a proper move out inspection helps prepare for the next move in process.
Speed of unit turns is paramount to minimizing downtime and loss of rent. You want to be able to communicate efficiently to your service managers what to expect when they go into that unit.
Do you need to replace the carpet or upgrade the appliances? If you’re not capturing that information at move out, then the first time that the service manager or your technician is going to learn that information is when they step foot inside that unit.
Why not give them all the information they need beforehand? You can tell them that when a certain unit turns, you’re replacing an appliance or upgrading the carpet.
That is a huge value. It reduces the time it takes to turn that unit and informs your budget for the upcoming year. You can project capital costs for replacing things at move in times, like appliances and carpet, that are close to the end of their useful life.
You can project that into the next year as well. And if you’ll need to buy equipment and furnishings ahead of time, you can plan for that.
From an asset management standpoint, all of that translates to reduced loss of rent, lower cost of turn, and even more efficient purchasing through lower material costs.