Financial Planning

A Home Rental Walk-Through Can Save You

If you're renting a home or apartment, do a thorough inspection before moving in. This can protect you from damages and you're more likely to get your security deposit back.

Home Rental: The Walk-Through and Your Security Deposit

If you’ve decided that renting a home or an apartment is best for your budget, chances are you’re familiar with a security deposit – that chunk of money that ensures your landlord against any damages you may have caused to the property as a tenant. And as a renter, wouldn’t it be nice for your budget to get that money back at the end of your lease? The fact is, you’ll have a better chance of putting more of that security deposit money back in your pocket if you do a walk-through before you sign the lease.

The Importance of a Home Rental Walk-Through

What you need to know

According to, the move-in walk-through inspection should be thorough, ensuring you don’t overlook anything. By inspecting everything from floor to ceiling, can protect you from being held accountable for any damages left by previous tenants.

If the house or apartment is still occupied, it’s a good idea to ask the manager if you can wait until the current tenants move out before signing the rental agreement. This allows you to complete a thorough walk-through and assess any damages before you make a commitment. If this isn’t possible or if the manager doesn't agree, you have 72 hours after move-in to do a walk-through according to However, if the manager insists you leave a deposit in order to hold the rental, just make sure it’s refundable – and be sure to get it in writing.

Have a checklist so you don’t miss anything

To be sure you don’t miss anything, recommends bringing along a check list that will allow you to go room by room and not miss anything, as well as a camera or other video device to document any obvious damage. They also suggest insisting that the landlord walks through the rental with you.

A couple of online rental walk-through checklists/worksheets that you can use are RocketLawyer,, and
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Rent a Home

If you've decided to rent a home or an apartment, chances are you've had to budget for both the rent and the security deposit. While you can't recoup the rent, you can take some additional steps that may help you get back most or even all of your security deposit - cash that you can put back into your budget. For more information, visit our learning center.