If possible, walk through the house or apartment with the landlord before you move in. Ask your landlord if they have a standard condition report or inspection form for the property that you should be completing.
Document any damages you see before unpacking. A great way to do this is by taking pictures and videos of every room and emailing them to yourself or someone else who can store the emails, like a parent or sibling. Be sure to include the inside of closets and appliances, floors, walls, ceilings, windows and doors, and plumbing fixtures.
Some helpful tips for checking for damages are:
Review your lease for information on how you must notify your landlord of any previous damage or items that need repair. Many leases specify a certain number of days for this communication, so complete this thoroughly and quickly. After that, they may assume that everything was in good repair, or that you are responsible for the damage.
Be sure to keep a copy of your photos/video and send a copy to someone you trust such as a parent/guardian.