Check-out inventory of fixtures
When does it occur?
As its name suggests, check-out inventory of fixtures occurs at the end of your stay in the apartment. Anticipate this moment in order for things to go smoothly! You can set up a meeting with your landlord before the inventory: that way, you can be clear on whether you’re going to have to make some repairs or not. Whenever possible, have the check-out inventory take place on the same day you give back the keys. That way, you will already have emptied the place of your stuff and the apartment will seem cleaner.
Why conducting a check-out inventory of fixtures?
As you must have gathered with the check-in inventory, it helps your lessor comparing the apartment’s condition when you came in and once you leave. If the check-in inventory document (we hope you kept it!) isn’t identical to the check-out one, you will discuss what’s yours to repair or not with your lessor. And whether your security deposit will be fully returned or not is decided on the basis of the check-out inventory.
How is it done?
Have a major cleanup done before the inventory. If there’s a balcony, clean it too. It will please the landlord to see his apartment clean as a whistle, and will put him in a good mood for the next step.
In a same manner as the check-in inventory of fixtures, visit the place room by room and take notes of the conditions of walls, floor, ceiling, windows, doors, furniture, and all household appliances and electrical installations.
Rely on the points listed on the check-in inventory document and compare all of them. If everything’s identical, bingo! You’ve won your security deposit back!
Once the inventory is done, don’t forget to give all of the set of keys back! Also remember to terminate your water and electricity plans if they’re at your expense.
Be transparent! If you know you’ve damaged something, it’s no use trying to hide it from the landlord. If he doesn’t notice during the inventory, he will probably come back to you after you left and you’ll have to manage the issue remotely, which will prove to be far more complicated. Besides, if you show good faith, he’ll probably be easier on you.
After the inventory is done, even though your landlord has to take time to estimate how much the potential repairs you owe him amount to, mention the security deposit to remind him it should be returned to you within to months, and also so you can discuss whether he plans to give it back to you in full or not.
Don’t get intimidated by the landlord’s opinion: you should discuss things together to reach an agreement regarding what’s written on the check-out inventory. Try describing things in a neutral manner, rather than simply writing “good” or “bad” condition.
Once it's done, can I go back?
You can, but it’s slow and tedious. It’s really best to reach a common understanding at the time of check-out inventory, and not hastily signing a check-out inventory you don’t actually agree on. And if you REALLY can’t reach an agreement with your landlord, you can seek a bailiff’s assistance to conduct the inventory.
What am I responsible for?
Some deterioration is caused by natural wear of the premises. Don’t worry about the paint peeling, it can be caused by humidity and it’s not your fault. You shouldn’t accept that mentions like “carpeting to be changed” or “walls to be repainted” are noted on your check-out inventory. These are heavy repairs that are the landlord’s responsibility - except if you’ve wrecked the place, which won’t happen!
What should I do if the landlord blames me?
If your landlord blames you for damage and you think it’s unfair, your disagreement can be brought before a departmental conciliation committee. Under this scenario, you’d start by sending them a registered letter describing the issue. If it doesn’t amount to anything, you’ll have to bring the case to the court.
These are time-consuming procedures who might handicap you if you have to return to your home country after your stay in France. It’s best to make every effort to reach an agreement with the landlord at the moment of the check-out inventory. That is entirely doable if you’ve maintained good relations with him until that moment!
Don’t forget that the landlord can keep 20% of your security deposit to regularize service charges in case the annual regularization of service charges done by the co-owners doesn’t match with your departure.