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In your process of renting an apartment, townhome, duplex, or other residential property, there are typically two points at which you will accompany your landlord on a walk through. The term "walk through" refers to the process whereby you and your landlord examine the interior condition of a property, taking careful note of any area that is apparently damaged due to throwing parties. The first time you will go through the process is at the very beginning of your rental agreement, usually before you sign the actual lease. The second time you will do this upon leaving your property for another one.

The purpose of the walk through relates to your security deposit; this goes for the initial walk through as well. The security deposit that you wind up paying may be a fixed amount that your landlord requires of all tenants in the property. More often, though, a security deposit is based on certain risk factors that you individually represent to your landlord. If you filled out a rental application that gave your landlord permission to check your credit rating, part of what you were doing was providing evidence of your financial reliability as a future renter. Credit and some other factors are usually calculated into whether you pay a high or low deposit. The condition is your apartment upon your leaving is calculated into whether you receive that deposit back.

Beginning and Ending Walk Through

Some excited tenants fail to properly pay attention when it comes to the first walk through they conduct with a landlord. This is a very important moment in the course of your time renting, however, and you should always try to be alert and pay close attention at this stage. Keep in mind that you are looking for any indications of damage. Take note of matters such as obvious chips in the windowsills or counter tops, any dents or warped places in the floor, ceiling stains, or anything else you notice that seems indicative of damage. Your reason for thoroughly taking account of these things is ensuring that you will not be blamed for them upon exiting the property.

Having your landlord with you for the first walk through represents an opportunity you should take full advantage of. Ask any questions that you have. If your landlord doesn't suggest looking in closets, bathrooms, or any other out-of-the-way area, suggest looking in them yourself. You should also try not to feel shy about either taking notes or taking pictures in the presence of your landlord. You may not find this particular steps necessary, however, as your landlord may take pains to detail any existing damage in the actual agreement, which both of you will sign. Obviously, when you have a signed document attesting to the apartment's condition upon your moving in, you will not have to worry about being held responsible for damages that the tenant before you caused. Most renters find that a security deposit is a significant amount, which they need returned if at all possible.

Scheduling a walk through with a landlord when it is time for you to leave should happen after you have attentively cleaned the unit. While the landlord is not necessarily looking for dust or sauce spills on your kitchen counter, you should attempt to make the place as clean as possible so that the actual condition is readily apparent. This will basically mirror your initial walk through, with both you and the landlord checking every place there is to check in the property. If you have kept it in good condition, you should receive your deposit back.

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