I wanted to clarify what the final walk through entailed. Specifically I wanted to verify that when they inspect it together with you, at the end of it, you get something in writing from them as to what's wrong and what's right (otherwise what the hell is the point of it really?)
Well guess what - they do NOT give you anything in writing after that. I was told it only comes "with the check" from their corproate office after the fact.
That's been the case with all the places I've rented, and you're right, it sucks. The ONLY purpose it serves is for you to do it enough in advance that you can fix some of the issues before they charge you. Like, if they go, "Oh you forgot to clean the fan blades. Clean them, or we'll charge you $500," then you can quickly clean the fan blades and avoid the charge. It's no good as far as getting them to agree to what you should/shouldn't be charged for.
I lived in this really shady place once, and we were doing my walk-through at the end of my lease. The lady noticed a brown mark on the carpet that was there when I moved in -- and that I'd clearly marked on the check-list when I moved in.
She goes, "Uh, there's a cigarette burn here."
And I go, "Yeah. I noted it on my move-in checklist."
She scrutinizes the move-in checklist, and goes, "Well what you wrote is that it was a 'small, round, brown mark on the carpet, 1 ft from the patio door.' This looks like a burn."
I say, "Well I wasn't sure it was a burn, so I decided to describe it instead. It is a round brown mark, and it is 1 ft from the patio door. Clearly, we are talking about the same thing. I want something in writing."
She refused to provide anything and goes, "Ohhhh wellllll, we'll have to see what management thinks."
It ended up not being an issue, because, when the mailing came several weeks later, I found I wasn't charged for the round brown mark/burn/whatever. But you can bet I was fuming for those few weeks.