How to Compile a Damage List

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The following document ONLY applies to jurisdictions in Kentucky that have enacted the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act. These jurisdictions are: Barbourville, Bellevue, Bromley, Covington, Dayton, Florence, Lexington-Fayette County, Georgetown, Louisville-Jefferson County, Ludlow, Melbourne, Newport, Oldham County, Pulaski County, Shelbyville, Silver Grove, Southgate, Taylor Mill and Woodlawn.

If you do NOT live in one of these jurisdictions, please do not rely on this document for legal advice.

Further, this information only applies to residential leases. It does not apply to: commercial units, properties under contract for sale, hotels or motels, or people who are employed by the landlord.

If your landlord requires a security deposit, you are entitled to receive a written list of any damages that exist when you move into an apartment. You are also entitled to a list of damages when you move out. THESE LISTS ARE VERY IMPORTANT - they prevent the landlord from keeping your money later when it is time to return your security deposit.

Steps To Complete the Damage Lists:

  • When you are getting ready to move into or out of an apartment, you are entitled to inspect the premises before signing the damage list (this is the "Walk-Through"). The damages on the list do NOT exclude any latent defects of existing damages.
  • If you disagree with anything on the list, you can refuse to sign it.
  • If so, you must make a list of "item(s) of dissent" in writing, stating each of the items you disagree with.
  • You must then sign the "item(s) of dissent" before signing the original damage list.
  • If a landlord later tries to keep your money, you can refer back to the "item(s) of dissent" and reclaim your security deposit in court.
  • REMEMBER that you are entitled to a damage list both BEFORE MOVING IN and AFTER MOVING OUT. If you do not receive a damage list, the landlord cannot keep any of your security deposit. However, if you end up taking the landlord to court for the deposit, you cannot prove you did not damage the apartment without a Damage List.
  • If your landlord keeps your security deposit based on the damage list, you can dispute the accuracy of the final damage list and bring the action to District Court. However, if you did not make an "item(s) of dissent" list and sign it, you are less likely to get your money back in court.

Listed below are some Damages To Notice in the apartment when making a damage list:

  • Leaky Plumbing (toilets, faucets, pipes, etc.)
  • Check water faucets, toilet, and shower to make sure they run. Turn on the water: how hot and how cold can you get it?
  • Holes or Cracks in the Walls or Ceilings
  • Missing or Broken Windows and Screens
  • Defective Appliances - Check the stove, oven, refrigerator and any other appliances to make sure they work.
  • Defective Wiring (Switches, Outlets, etc.) - Turn on ceiling lights to make sure they work. Ask about or check all cable, phone, and electric sockets to see which ones work.
  • Damaged Bathroom Fixtures
  • Defective Heating, Air Conditioning, Hot Water Heat. Ask the current tenants or the landlord if the thermostat works.
  • Damaged Flooring/Floors
  • Doors that are Damaged or don't Fit Properly
  • Missing or Damaged Doorknobs, Locks, Hinges. Inspect the locks on all outside doors. Are they sturdy? Are the doors and hinges themselves sturdy?
  • Evidence of Insects and Rodents
  • Peeling Paint or Wallpaper
  • Anything on the exterior for which the tenant might be held responsible
  • Wet or bowing ceiling (if on the top floor) where rain might be leaking in
  • Look for cracks in the window itself as well as around the window.
  • Damaged Furniture (if there is any). Check furniture for sturdiness.
  • Ask to see the furnace and water heater. Look for rust chips, rocks or other types of debris around them. This can result in carbon monoxide problems (including poisonings).

Remember to be thorough and specific when inspecting.

Reviewed August 2009