Does a new Landlord Have to Honor the Walk Through Inspection of the Former Landlord?
Yes, the initial walk-through report will be enforceable against the new landlord. Tenants have the right to privacy within their dwellings. However, landlords may enter with reasonable prior notice and at a reasonable time: (a) to provide necessary or agreed upon repairs or services; (b) in accordance with the lease; or (c) to show the apartment to prospective purchasers or tenants. In emergencies, such as fires, the landlord may enter the apartment without prior notice of tenant’s consent. A landlord may not abuse the limited right of entry or use it to harass a tenant. A landlord cannot deny you access to the apartment during the rental period for which you have the right to possession of the premises.
Reasonable wear and tear is a term often found in leases to limit the tenant's responsibility to repair or repaint the premises upon leaving. In general, the longer the time of tenancy, the more wear and tear can be expected. Litigation dealing with reasonable wear and tear between landlord and tenant occurs most often when there is a deposit for any damages "beyond reasonable wear and tear." Reasonable wear and tear is generally defined as unavoidable deterioration in the dwelling and its fixtures resulting from normal use. For example, carpet wear due to normal traffic is wear and tear, while a cigarette burn is avoidable and constitutes damages.
What amounts to reasonable wear and tear must be judged bearing in mind the purposes for which the premises were leased and the nature of the tenant's business. Wear and tear can be defined to different degrees according to the state of residence. There tends to be a great deal of ambiguity and subjectivity in this area. Normal for one individual can and will be vastly different from another individuals perception of normal.
State statutes do not define normal or reasonable wear and tear. Typically, a landlord is responsible for putting a fresh coat of paint on an apartment before reletting the premises. Broom swept generally means free of debris. Often, a lease will specify that an apartment must be cleaned as well as broom swept, or else cleaning charges may be incurred. If the move out procedures are vague, it will be a matter of subjective determination for the court, based on all the facts and circumstances involved.
It is possible you can have the previous company subpoenaed to testify or provide records as to the move-in condition, but the issue may become a matter of one person's word against the other's. It is recommended for a tenant to take pictures of the defects and note the same on the inspection report upon moving in to prevent future disputes.