Document the Condition of the Rental Property
It is best to do this right before moving in, but within 3-days of moving in, make a thorough inspection of the property and document it on a Condition of Rental Property Checklist (PDF).
- Both you and the landlord need to sign the form, acknowledging that you agree about the condition of the rental property.
- Documentation is imperative; both you and the landlord must retain a copy for your records. This is an extremely important document and the best way to protect yourself against unfair deposit withholdings.
- Make a "Housing Folder" where you will keep important papers, including your rental and housemate agreements, receipts for monies, Condition of Rental Property Checklist, locations of gas, electric, and water shutoffs, correspondence with the landlord (e-mails, letters), and any other pertinent paperwork.
- Complete a Housemate Agreement with your housemates. Each member of the household signs the agreement and is given a copy. You can avoid future potential problems by documenting household understandings and agreements from the start.
- Ask your landlord if you need to arrange for utility hook-ups or name changes on the utility accounts. You may need to contact Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and make arrangements for water, garbage, phone, cable, and internet service. Also ask them to show you where the gas, electric, and water shutoff controls are and which appliances use gas.
Service Provider Contact Information
Pacific Gas & Electric
City of Santa Cruz Water, Garbage & Sewer
212 Locust Street, Suite D
Santa Cruz Municipal Utilities
Garbage/Recycling outside the City of Santa Cruz
Green Waste Recovery