Tenant responsibilities at the end of a tenancy

Introduction

Giving your landlord notice

Manage Damages

Pay Off The Utility Bills

Remove your possessions

Clean The Property

Document the Property’s Condition

Arrange a Move Out Inspection

End the Lease on a High Note

Overview

Intro

Moving homes is a large endeavour and a key life milestone. It is exciting, stressful and a bit scary!  Maybe you are moving in with new friends, getting a place of your own, or just leaving your uni accommodation, whatever the situation, there are still several responsibilities that you have as a tenant.

If you want your move to go as smoothly, leaving your rental property with a content landlord and full deposit in your pocket means that you will need to take some action before 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.

Giving your landlord notice

The first step you need to do when considering of moving out of a rental is to review your rental agreement. This is a vital part of the moving process, as you must know how to correctly end your lease. 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.

Typically, most rental agreements 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. You must ask the landlord to cancel the lease, or you should ask for permission to sublet the property out. This is where a new tenant will pay the rent to you, and you will then pay the rent to the landlord.

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.

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. Make sure that you inspect the property for any damage you may have caused over your time living there. 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

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.



Document the Condition

 It is really important that you document all of the cleaning and repair works. You should take photos and videos of this, as well as keeping all of the receipts for the materials and services that you paid for.

When you have removed all of your personal items and belongings from the property, and everything has been cleaned, you must make sure that you take lots of photos and videos of the property. This is vital, as there is the potential that there may be a conflict with your landlord over the security deposit. This evidence can be extremely useful should you need to dispute any issues.



Arrange a Move Out Inspection

Your boxes are packed, the property is the cleanest that it’s ever been, and you are finally ready to move on to your next chapter. But there is one final step that you will need to do before all of the strings have been tied, and that is the move out inspection.

You should call your landlord a week or so prior to your move out date to ask them to conduct a move-out inspection. When the landlord arrives to do the inspection, you should walk through the entire property with them, to discuss any issues that may arise. This way you can confirm whether any security deposit deductions are justified, and you can dispute them with evidence if needed. You should aim to find mutually beneficial solutions, but you should request your tenancy deposit back regardless.


End The Lease On A High Note

It is highly beneficial for you to end your tenancy on good terms with the landlord and letting agency. The chances are that they have other properties in the area, and they may give you an unsatisfactory reference if you look to rent elsewhere.

You are probably looking for an easy life and ensuring that you finish the lease on a high helps to reduce any stress or conflict in the moving process. Being good tenants will also hopefully prevent your landlord from taking away your security deposit, or from dragging their heels in the ground when you are trying to get it returned to you.

 Remember, you should keep evidence of the property’s condition at the beginning and at the end of the tenancy, so that you can justify any disputes you may have. However, if you follow our end of tenancy cleaning checklist, you should have no issues in receiving your full deposit.

Overview

Moving out and ending your tenancy can be extremely stressful, especially when you are unsure of what is required from you. It can be a long process to get everything finalised, but we hope that your moving out experiencing will be less stressful with our helpful tips. In summary, there are 7 key steps that you should take in order to end your lease successfully.

  1. Give Your Landlord Notice – Make sure that you give your landlord appropriate notice, in alignment with your rental agreement.
  2. Manage Damages – Fix any damages that you may have caused, such as holes in the walls from picture hooks. The property should look the same on the day that you moved out as it looked on the day that you moved in.
  3. Pay Off Your Utility Bills – Ensure that all of your utility providers have been informed of your move-out date and have been cancelled where needed.
  4. Remove Your Possessions – Do not leave any of your belongings behind, or you may lose a large chunk of your security deposit.
  5. Clean – The property should be cleaned from head to toe, either by a professional cleaning company, or on your own following our end of tenancy cleaning checklist.
  6. Take Pictures of the Property – Document everything with pictures, so that you have evidence in case you need to dispute any deposit issues with the landlord.
  7. Organise a Move-out Inspection – Arrange a final inspection with the landlord, to discuss any maintenance or cleaning issues that there may be, giving you the chance to make any changes that you need to I order to end the lease on a high.

By following these important steps, you will fulfil all of the responsibilities that you have as a tenant, with you hopefully leaving with your full security deposit in your pocket!

Good Luck with the move!

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