Additionally, you should inspect the condition of the:
• Kitchen (specifically the condition of the cabinets and counter tops)
Under California law, you are liable for damages if you don't return the rental unit to the landlord in the condition it was when you received it, minus ordinary wear a tear. By documenting the condition of the rental unit when you receive it, you will have a benchmark of the condition of the unit when you moved in.
If you are moving into a duplex or single family home with a yard, you should find out who is responsible for maintaining the yard (watering, mowing the lawn and trimming the shrubs). It's also a good idea to document the condition of the yard that is under your control as well. If your dog damages the landscaping or you don't water the yard and it dies, you will be liable for damages that could be taken out of you security deposit.
It's a good idea to talk about the condition of the rental unit, expectations for yard care, and how repairs and maintenance will be addressed so that you and the landlord can develop a good working relationship.
This information is not intended as legal advice.