When it’s time for your tenant to move out of the rental there are some specific activities the landlord needs to handle in a timely manner. Proper return and documentation of the security deposit is one of them, and a move out inspection option for your tenant is another requirement of the landlord.

The law in California states that within a reasonable time after the landlord or tenant provide their notice to terminate the lease agreement, or before the end of the agreement term, that the landlord must notify the tenant in writing of tenant’s option to request an initial inspection of the premises. The tenant can request an initial inspection of the premises no earlier than two weeks before the end of the end of the lease. This initial inspection would be prior to the inspection the landlord would make after the tenant vacates the premises, and its purpose is to give the tenant some time to remedy any problems that are found in order to avoid deductions to the security deposit.

If the tenant does not request an initial inspection the landlord has no duty to provide one. Unless the tenant later withdraws the request for an initial inspection the landlord and tenant must try to schedule the inspection for a mutually acceptable time, and the landlord must provide at least 48 hours’ written notice of the time and date agreed upon. There is some required language to include in the written notice:

“State law permits former tenants to reclaim abandoned personal property left at the former address of the tenant, subject to certain conditions. You may or may not be able to reclaim property without incurring additional costs, depending on the cost of storing the property and the length of time before it is reclaimed. In general, these costs will be lower the sooner you contact your former landlord after being notified that property belonging to you was left behind after you moved out.”

Based on the inspection, the landlord must give the tenant an itemized statement specifying repairs or cleanings that are required in order for the tenant to avoid deductions to the security deposit.