Moving homes is never easy, but the case is all the more stressful for tenants, as they need to hand the rented house back to the owner in an agreed upon condition. Regardless of how big a hassle it is, ensuring proper maintenance of the rental property, especially while moving out is crucial because you will want to get your security deposit back. As such, what are the things that you need to check as a tenant that is moving out of the premises? Well, a good tenant should follow all of the steps given below to ensure that their security deposit is safe. Our moving-out checklist for tenants will help you return the rental property to the landlord in the right state.
Go Through Your Rental Agreement
If you’ve decided to move out of the property you are currently renting, then the first thing on your to-do list should be reviewing your tenancy documents. Check the fine print and determine how much of a notice you need to give to your landlord, what condition is the property supposed to be in for you to get your security deposit back and what kind of repairs does that entail.
Contact Your Landlord
The tenancy agreement generally has a moving-out procedure mentioned in it. This usually includes some days’ written notice notifying the landlord that you are ending the tenancy. Contact your landlord based on the timeframe specified in the agreement. This can be anywhere between 30 to 60 days. You can also ask them about the moving-out procedure and specifications when you call them up.
Perform a Property Inspection
Now that the call’s been made, you need to make the property ready for your departure. Since you need to return it in the same condition as it was when you moved in, you might need to put in some effort to restore it to its original state, especially if you’ve lived here long or have kids. The inspection includes the following:
- Checking the walls for holes or chipping paint
- Turning on all the appliances to make sure they are in working order
- Ensuring that all the light and plumbing fixtures work perfectly
- Noting down all the damage that cannot be easily repaired or replaced
- Making the garden look presentable if you have one
- Rechecking that the house is clean and free of trash when you move out
Pay Off Any Outstanding Bills
Now that you’ve inspected the property, you should know exactly how much you need to spend on returning the property to its former state before moving out. The next step is to check and pay off all outstanding dues first. These include utility bills as well as service charges for your cable TV or internet.
Remove Your Belongings
The next step on our moving-out checklist for tenants is to pack up and remove all your belongings from the rental property. If you have already found a new place to stay, you can take your personal belongings there immediately. If the new landlord will hand you the keys to the new rental property at a later date, simply pack all the stuff and keep it aside in the house. Decluttering the home now will help you during the cleaning stage and it will barely take you a weekend to accomplish. A few things to keep in mind are:
- If you don’t know when you’ll use something again, get rid of it, be it clothes, food or any other items that are taking up storage space.
- Do not forget to take pictures down from the walls and collect all the magnets that you stuck on your fridge, especially if it’s owned by your landlord.
- Check all drawers, cupboards and storage areas for small items that you might miss while packing.
Clean the Rental Property
The most important part of moving out of a rental property is the clean-up. This is because all tenants want their security deposit to be returned back in full and the only way to assure that is to leave the house as you found it, clean and tidy. We’ve divided some of the cleaning tasks that you might have to perform as per your tenant agreement into individual areas. The moving-out checklist for tenants includes the following cleaning requirements:
- Sweeping or vacuuming the floor
- Mopping the floor
- Vacuuming the carpet if there is any
- Removing any stains on the floor or carpet
- Wiping down walls with a soap and water solution
- Removing cobwebs, if any
- Removing all screws, hooks, and nails from the walls
- Filling in all the holes that you made for wall hangings
- Repainting any spots that have gotten chipped due to neglect
- Cleaning the ceiling fans
- Clean the window frames
- Clean the glass separately
- Fix broken or bent blinds
- Repair holes in the curtains
- Wipe down all the doors
- Put oil in the hinges of squeaky or stuck doors
- Wipe or wash all the appliances that you have used and dry them
- Clear up any clogged drains
- Wipe the kitchen counters
- Clean the inside and outside of the microwave, oven, and cabinets
- Empty and defrost the refrigerator and deep freezer
- Wash and mop the bathroom
- Clean all occurrences of mould, if any
- Wipe the mirror, sink, shelves and shower cabinet
Around the House
- Make sure all the doors and windows close properly
- Check all the locks to ensure that they work and are not stuck
- Replace any fused light bulbs or tubes
- Wipe all the furniture and lighting fixtures
- Sweeping the balcony
In the Garden
- Mow the lawn
- Trim bushes
- Sweep the pathways
- Clear up fallen leaves and trash
Set Up an Inspection with the Landlord
Once the clean-up is done, you can call your landlord over for an inspection and discuss any remaining repairs or issues before you move out. It is advised that you make a video or take photos of the property’s condition, so you have proof of the state that you are leaving it in. These records will come in handy if your landlord is reluctant to return your security deposit. As soon as you have the security deposit in hand, you can get ready to start a new life elsewhere.
Moving can be a challenge, but our moving-out checklist for tenants can help you plan it successfully so that you can get your security deposit back in full. A similar checklist can also help you cover all the essential tasks right after moving into a new home.