What should I do at the end of my tenancy?

Getting ready to move homes is a big task, and a very exciting part of life! However, it can be one of the most stressful endeavours that you can undertake in life. Whether you are moving in with new friends, getting a place of your own,

Introduction

Getting ready to move homes is a big task, and a very exciting part of life! However, it can be one of the most stressful endeavours that you can undertake in life. Whether you are moving in with new friends, getting a place of your own, or just leaving your university accommodation, whatever the situation, there are still several things that you must do at the end of your tenancy. 

Contents

Whilst you are busy packing boxes, trying to make sure that no stray spoon is left behind, it can become easy to overlook key actions that must be taken in order to end your tenancy correctly. If you want the move to go as smoothly as possible, leaving your rental property with a happy landlord and full deposit in your pocket means that you will need to take some action before finally leaving. 

We have put together a move-out checklist for you to follow, to make sure that you leave the property with all parties happy. By following our top tips, you can get on with the fun parts of moving, like choosing the new paint and furniture, instead of having to worry about your deposit, or your landlord. After all, this is a huge life milestone that you should be celebrating!

Giving your landlord notice

One of the most important steps when you are considering moving out of a rental property is to review your rental agreement and contract. It is vital that you know how to correctly end your lease, and any special requirements that your landlord may have. This is an essential part of the moving process, as there are numerous rules, regulations, and obligations that you need to be aware of in order to end your lease properly. 

Different estate agents or landlords will have slightly different policies on ending your lease, and they may have a variety of notice periods meaning that checking your rental agreement is absolutely essential. You don’t want to get caught out by any of the small print, so make sure that you give the contract a thorough read-through to avoid any unwanted issues throughout the moving process.

In the majority of rental agreements, they require tenants to provide the landlord with written notice at least 30 days prior to the date which you plan to move out. As a tenant, you will need to write a tenant move out letter, you will be able to find countless examples and templates with just a quick google!

Your notice should include the following features:

  • A statement of the good condition of the property
  • The specific date that you would like to move
  • Your new address
  • A request to have your tenancy deposit returned
  • The date it was written and the lead tenant’s signature

If you are moving out of the rental property prior to the lease expiring, you should also include your reasons for wanting to end the lease early. It is important that you are honest about this reason, as if there are poor living conditions, or damage, the letter of notice can be used as evidence. You have to ask the landlord to cancel the lease, or you should ask for permission to sublet the property out.

What is subletting?

Subletting is where an existing tenant lets out all or part of the property to someone else. In the case of moving out, you would be letting out the property in it’s entirety. Instead of the new individual paying the rent directly to the landlord, the subtenant makes the rent payment to the primary tenant. The primary tenant then pays that rent to the landlord, there is little to no contact between the landlord and the subtenant. 

It is very important to note that if the landlord does not agree to subletting or terminating your rental agreement early, you will still be responsible for paying the remainder of the rent until the lease’s official end date. Landlords tend to be fairly understanding, but you must consider the fact that if you are trying to end your tenancy early, your landlord may not allow it.

If you are planning on moving out at the end of your lease, you will not need to send your landlord a letter of notice as the contract will be ending anyway. If this is the case, you will just need to make sure that you have spoken with your landlord to confirm that you will not be renewing your lease. Your landlord will most likely get in touch with you prior to the end of the lease to check if you wish to renew or not.

Manage Damages

When you end your tenancy, it is your responsibility to return the property in the same condition as when you first moved in. It is important that you make sure you inspect the property for any damage that may have been caused by you, during the time that you have been living there, accidental or not! You should have had an inventory or condition when you first moved in that you can refer back to. By checking back to this, you can find out what exactly you are responsible for.

The landlord will accept normal wear and tear, but any other damage that you may have caused is the tenants’ responsibility to fix. If you have perhaps hung up any pictures, or painted any walls, you may have to fix this. 

When it comes to painting, you should check your rental agreement to see if you will need to paint the walls back to their original colour or not. Some landlords do prefer to repaint the walls themselves. 

Your landlord does have certain maintenance responsibilities throughout the tenancy, nut you should read through your rental agreement to clarify what your roles are in terms of maintenance.
If you have any repair work take place, you should make sure that it is well documented, and that any receipts are kept.

Remember, if you have made any permanent improvements to the property you are able to request to have the money spent returned to you or deducted from your final month’s rent.

Pay Off The Utility Bills

When you are moving to a new house, there are a million and one things to consider, it becomes incredibly easy to forget about certain aspects. One thing that you should be sure to pay extra attention to is the utility bills. If bills are left unpaid, your landlord has the legal right to use your deposit money for any charges or bills that are unpaid.

It is very important that you get in contact with all of your current service providers, to inform them of your move out date. You will then need to either cancel the services, ready for them to be disconnected on the day after you move out. You may also want to transfer the services across to your new property, keeping the same account. If your bills are included within the rent payment, you will not need to contact the service provider. If you are unsure of this, just check back to your agreement or ask your landlord.

Also, you should make sure that you take readings of the gas, electricity, and water meters on the moving day. Make sure that you take a photograph for proof as this prevents you from being charged for services that you have not used.

Remove Your Possessions


As a tenant it is your responsibility to make sure that all of your possessions should be removed from the property. There may be some things that you do not wish to take with you, or hidden boxes that you may have forgotten about entirely. However, it is vital that you do not leave anything behind as your landlord can and will charge you for having to take out and dispose of your belongings. 


A good approach to ensuring that none of your personal possessions are left behind is to begin sorting through them at least a month before your move. This way, it gives you time to find all of your belongings and leaves you with long enough to sell or donate them. 

Moving to a new house is a great excuse to go through all of your old clothes, knickknacks, and furniture that you may have collected throughout the years. Take this opportunity to sell or donate useful items that are still in a good condition, get rid of any damaged items and clothing that cannot be worn again. Make sure that you recycle whatever you can in the process.

As we are only human, we are bound to forget one or two things, which is why we have put together a list of a few things that are often left behind, so that you can be sure you don’t make the same mistake!

Remember to:

Take down pictures and calendars from the walls, ensuring that any nails or picture hanging hooks have been removed, and the holes filled in.

Remove stickers and magnets from the fridge, making sure that any sticky marks or residue has been cleaned off.

Get all your items from the bathroom, items like shower curtains or bathmats are so incredibly easy to forget on the last day, so make sure you have them down on your list to pack! 

Take your door mats and rugs. 

Grab your tools and flowerpots from the garden

In the last week before you move out, check all of the drawers and cupboards, look in the loft and under the stairs, and just double-check absolutely everywhere to avoid you from losing that all important deposit.

Do not forget that cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, rubbish bins, and anything else that was not in the rental property when you moved in, must go.

Cleaning Checklist

I am sure that you are aware that as a tenant, you are responsible for returning the rental property back to it’s original condition, which includes the cleaning. End of tenancy cleaning tends to be more thorough than your typical clean. There is a rather strict list of what you are expected to clean at the end of your tenancy. Make sure that you refer back to your rental agreement, as your landlord may have specific requirements for the clean, such as steam cleaning etc. 

There are many cleaning companies that will be able to provide you with a professional end of tenancy cleaning service at a highly affordable price. If you wish to undertake the end of tenancy cleaning yourself, we have put together a typical moving out cleaning checklist.

Across the whole property

  • Walls – dusted and free of cobwebs
  • Doors – dusted and wiped from top to bottom
  • Door handles – wiped and polished, free from light stains, marks, and fingerprints
  • Windows – wiped and polished from top to bottom (internally)
  • Windowsills and ledges – wiped and clean
  • Window handles – wiped and polished
  • Ceilings and corners – dusted, and free of cobwebs
  • Mirrors – dusted, polished and free of spots and fingerprints
  • Light fittings and shades – dusted and wiped
  • Light switches, plugs and sockets – dusted and wiped
  • Skirting (including the skirting boards behind the furniture if it can be moved by 1 person) – dusted and wiped
  • Spindles and banisters – dusted and wiped
  • Curtain rails – dusted and wiped
  • Radiators – wiped and clean from top to bottom, and behind
  • All floors and carpets– vacuumed (including under the carpets, tables, beds, sofas, chairs, etc.)
  • Upholstery – vacuumed (including behind and underneath the cushions) – if it is included at the time of booking
  • Cupboards and drawers – cleared out, dusted from inside and out, polished
  • Shelves – empty, dusted, polished
  • Wooden furniture – dusted, wiped, and polished
  • Wipe skirting boards and door frames

Kitchen

  • All work surfaces (such as kitchen countertops/worktops) – washed and sanitized
  • Cupboards and drawers – cleared out/in, wiped
  • Wall tiles – free of stains, mould, and grease, washed and polished
  • Sink and taps – washed, free of limescale, sanitized, polished; dry and clean
  • Internal rubbish bins – empty, cleaned inside and out
  • Fridge and freezer – internally and externally clean
  • Microwave – wiped from inside and outside
  • Dishwasher – clean from inside and outside
  • Washing machine internally and externally (including soap dispenser, rubber seal, etc.)
  • Tumble dryer (including dust and lint filters, rubber seal, handles, etc.)
  • Hobs and grill – clean and polished
  • Oven – degreased, cleaned inside /out, outside chrome and glass parts
  • Extractor fan – degreased, clean and polished

Bedrooms

  • Beds – clean (any wood, glass, or metal parts – polished)
  • Mattresses – vacuumed from both sides
  • Bedroom storage units (such as wardrobes, cupboards, night tables, drawers, light switches, skirting, etc.) – empty and clean inside and out (any wood, glass or metal parts – polished)
  • Windows cleaned internally
  • Wastepaper baskets – empty and clean

Living Room

  • Clean and carefully dust all wooden furniture
  • Clean inside cupboards and wardrobes
  • Windows cleaned internally
  • Clean all glass surfaces (furniture tops, mirrors, picture frames etc)
  • Dust light fittings and switches, skirting, curtain rails, pictures and radiators

Bathrooms

  • Wall tiles – cleaned, polished and mould-free
  • Taps and fittings – free of mould & limescale, clean and polished
  • Sink – basin cleaned, dried and polished
  • Cupboards and shelves – empty, cleaned of mould; clean (glass and chrome) parts – polished)
  • Mirror – wiped, polished and free of spots and fingerprints
  • Bathtub – wiped and polished
  • Shower cabin-wiped and polished
  • Shower screen – washed inside and outside, cleaned of mould and polished
  • Shower head – cleaned, dried and polished
  • Toilet and toilet seat – cleaned and disinfected from inside and out
  • Extractor fan – cleaned of mould and grime

If you plan to do the cleaning yourself, make sure you have all the necessary cleaning supplies and equipment to get the job done. If you intend to use professional cleaning services, budget for the cost, and book an affordable, reliable cleaning company as early as possible. Make sure that when you have finished with the clean, you remove all of the rubbish, and you take all of the cleaning supplies with you. 

By ensuring that the property is cleaned to a high standard, you will hopefully be able to guarantee the return of your deposit, as well as avoiding any potential conflicts or stress.

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