What to Do When Moving Out of a Rental Property

By Lilly Miller

The  time  has  come  to  move out  of  your  rental property.  Whether your lease is ending or you are simply ready to move on, you need  to  get  ready  for  all the steps ahead of you. Cross-country moving takes a lot of work and planning in itself. Therefore, when leaving  a  rental  home or an apartment, there are a few additional things you can’t overlook if you want your security deposit back. So, if you are a tenant, you need a comprehensive checklist to guide you.

Take Care of Utilities, Bills, and Fix Any Damage to the Property

Before you leave,  make  sure  all  your  bills  are  paid in full. Document    and   photograph   the   water,   gas,   electricity meters,  and  take  readings.   Contact utility companies and schedule the  disconnection date if necessary, as well as the connection  in  the  new  place  you’ll  be moving to.   Do this with all  the  other  providers,  such  as  internet,  cable,  and phone.

Check the regulations, rental agreement, and the condition report to see in what shape you are expected to leave the place. Notice  which  damage  falls  under  wear  and  tear,  and  for  which  you  may  be  responsible. To avoid losing your security deposit, start repairing.  Remove nails, hooks, and screws from the walls and fill the holes. Fix any scratches on the floor and furniture.

Review Your Lease Agreement and Give a Move-Out Notice

When  planning  a  cross-country moving  process,  there’s a lot of organizing to go through. Before you start, go through your lease agreement  to  find  out  what  needs  to  be  done  to end the lease properly. Check for any specific terms given by your landlord or property manager. This includes maintenance obligations, as well as the move-out notice. Tenants are usually required to  give it 30 days before leaving. That means it’s best to send a written notice to your landlord 5 weeks before the moving day.

Pack Your Belongings and Clean Thoroughly

This  step  can  begin as soon as you decide you are moving. Donate  items that are still in good shape, but you won’t use or   move   with   you,   and   throw  away  everything  that  is damaged. Don’t leave this stuff behind, or the landlord  may charge you. Start to pack everything that you  are  not  using at  the  moment, and leave out the things you will need on a daily basis. Check every corner when you finish, so you don’t forget anything.

Cleaning  a rental  property  is a lot of work, but it is the key step in getting your security deposit back. Gather cleaning supplies and cover every inch. Wipe and clean the windows and window sills. The curtains should be either washed or  cleaned  with  a  steamer, depending on the material. Don’t skip ceiling fans  and  lighting  fixtures - dust  them  thoroughly.  These spots are the ones that are easily overlooked in everyday tidying.  Use the steam cleaner to clean mattresses, upholsteries, and even carpets.   Dust every piece of furniture and wipe the baseboards.


The  kitchen  and  the  bathroom  require  more  time  than  other parts of the home. Don’t leave them until every surface has been cleaned of mold and limescale, and properly disinfected. Every faucet needs scrubbing, without skipping the showerhead. Clear the drains of any debris and hair. Scrub the tiles and mop them. Pay special attention to the toilet, inside and out of the bowl, and see if the  brush  and  seat  need  to  be replaced. When finishing, go over the floors with a vacuum cleaner, and mop them for a polished look.

Move-Out Inspection and Getting Your Deposit Back

An essential move-out checklist ends with a thorough move-out inspection.  Call  your landlord a week ahead of time to conduct a  walkthrough,  and  later on, you can discuss any issues.  After you  move  out,  you’re  entitled to get your deposit back, unless you’ve violated  the  terms  of  your  lease  or  left  the  property damaged. Just send a written request to your former landlord if they  require it,  and  expect  your  deposit  to be returned after two or three weeks.

You’ll be surprised by the number of things people leave in their rentals when they move out. So make sure to check the place once more before you head out to your new home.   Take a good look at  the  place and take a second to breathe and think about all the memories  made  there.   During  the  move,  people  sometimes  forget  to  relax  and   take a  step back to think about what’s next for them.

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