On your move-in day, record any existing damages prior to moving in any of your belongings. The Neighborhood Housing Office recommends walking through the unit with the landlord and noting any damages that are already present. Taking photos and video of your rental before moving in can also be beneficial for noting preexisting damages, especially for any areas you note on your check-in sheet. You have 7 days to complete the check-in sheet and claim any damages before giving a copy of the completed form to the landlord. The landlord is required by law to provide you with the check-in sheet. The Neighborhood Housing Office provides paper copies of check-in sheets as well.
Here are two examples of what a check-in sheet may look like!
Completing this form and turning it into your landlord is a good precautionary step to help get the entirety of your security deposit back upon move-out. A landlord will be unable to charge for any preexisting damages if they were documented appropriately. Any photos and videos will also contain a timestamp in case a form of proof is necessary.