Renter's Checklist

Updated May 2017   Fact Sheet PDF


Introduction

The checklist included (see "Fact Sheet PDF," above) will help you make notes as you look at places you want to rent. Take the checklist with you so you have records of your inspections. Some rooms or areas in the checklist might not be included in the places you are looking. The checklist is here to give you good ideas of what to pay attention to when you look at places you want to rent. Include the dates of your inspections, in case you need to follow up with the landlord about any repairs or let the landlord know there are damages.

 

If you are looking at more than one place, print a new checklist for each place. At the top of each, make a note of the place you are inspecting, write down the address, and make a note of the unit size. The unit size can be the number of bedrooms and bathrooms the property has.

 

Lease Agreements

A lease is a written contract between you and a property owner. It gives you the right to live in a home or apartment for a set period. You should never rent a place without a written lease agreement. A written agreement explains your responsibilities and your landlord's responsibilities.

 

Before you sign the lease, look at the place that you want to rent to make sure that it is safe, clean, and livable. When you visit a place, try to make the visit with the landlord or property manager. You might have questions they can answer as you look at the property. If you do not sign a lease, you do not have to move in to the property. Keep looking at other places, and keep the checklist with you so you know what to look at during your inspection.

 

Conditions

Some examples of ratings are “poor,” “fair,” “good,” “excellent,” “not applicable,” “repairs needed,” and “needs to be cleaned.”

 

The column for notes is where you write anything you may notice during your visit. Write down any damages you see. For example, if there are scratches on the living room walls, or if you see mold or water stains on the ceilings in the bathroom, write that down.

 

If you see damages, take pictures. The pictures should be kept with your renter's inspection form so you can ask the landlord or property manager if the damages will be repaired.

 

Repairs

The landlord does not have to make any repairs to the place. Even if the landlord makes a verbal promise to repair something, that agreement cannot be enforced. The landlord does not have a duty to fix anything unless he agrees to do so in writing. It is important to inspect a place before you sign a lease agreement.

 

You can ask the landlord to make repairs. If the landlord agrees to make repairs, get that agreement in writing or have it included in the written lease agreement before you sign the lease or move in.

 

Rent

Remember, in Arkansas you cannot withhold rent from the landlord for any reason. If you withhold rent, you will be evicted and the landlord may attempt to keep your belongings.

 

This fact sheet is a collaboration of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. These nonprofit organizations provide free legal assistance to eligible Arkansans who meet income, asset, and other guidelines. Legal assistance may also include advice and counsel, brief services, or full representation depending on the situation. For more information about civil legal aid in Arkansas, please visit arlegalservices.org. For information specific to Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., visit arlegalaid.org. Apply for services online or by calling 1-800-9-LAW-AID (1-800-952-9243).
The information and statements of law in this fact sheet should not be considered legal advice. This fact sheet is provided as a broad guide to help you understand how certain legal matters are handled in general. Courts may interpret the law differently. Before you take action, talk to an attorney and follow his or her advice. Always do what the court tells you to do.
Content provided by: Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.

 

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