Schedule a time to check in with your landlord or property manager as you are moving in to find out exactly what is expected of you.
It's also a good opportunity to complete a check-in sheet and take pictures of the place prior to moving in your belongings. Documenting existing damage will provide you with better information for moving out and getting your security deposit back.
Most landlords and property managers have their own versions of a checklist, but you can also use information on this site to create your own, or search the web for a printable version.
As you are completing the checklist, take plenty of time and be very thorough in noting all damages. This can protect you from being charged for damage that existed before you moved in. If you don’t note the existing damage on the checklist, you can be held responsible for that damage.
Consider taking pictures to verify the checklist details. Even better, take video as you walk through the apartment. Zoom in on the damages and explain exactly what they are.
Walls, ceiling, floors (including baseboards)
Windows, including screens and curtains/rods/blinds
Outlets, switches, and jacks
Front door and storm door
Locks/keys, including deadbolt
Oven - the range, hood/light/fan, burners and knobs, oven racks, and boiler pan
Refrigerator - both inside and out, including ice trays and racks
Cabinets, drawers, counters
Sink and faucets, including plumbing and pipes
Smoke alarm and fire extinguisher
Vanity, including counter, sink, faucets, drawers, mirror and medicine cabinet
Shower or tub including shower head, tile, and caulking