You can find home inspection checklists online (e.g. http://www.clta.titlewizard.com/learning_center/documents/HomeInspectionCklist.pdf), but these are written for home buyers.
As a renter, I wouldn't accept a lease that holds you responsible for damage that you didn't create, and I also wouldn't accept a lease that doesn't exclude normal wear and tear. In this market, there's no reason to deal with anyone that expects you to deal with these things. If a toilet isn't working or the wiring is bad, it's the landlord's responsibility to fix.
The things I would lookout for are the obvious: are there spots in the carpeting or damage to the walls from the last tenant that haven't been repaired. It is a good idea to make sure the appliances and utilities are all in good running condition, but more because that indicates how well the landlord maintains the property and gives you some idea of how much they will take care of things once you are renting. Know your responsibilities with the landscaping in advance. In my neighborhood, the rentals are typically the ones with small jungles growing in the backyard.
If you're paying for the utilities, look for energy saving devices, including an electronic thermostat that can adjust on a schedule when you're at work. For water, low flow toilets and shower heads will save you money.
For safety, look for deadbolts on the doors and locks on the windows (and check the crime stats for the neighborhood). Make sure there are smoke detectors in the bedrooms and GFCI outlets near any source of water.