If you’re coming to the end of your tenancy and want to move out, you might be wondering what to do next. To help make sure your rented property is in order before you pack up and move onto your new home, we’ve put together this handy guide.
Give notice to end your tenancy
If you are on a fixed-term tenancy then be sure to read through your AST and check the terms of ending the tenancy early and what notice you need to give. This will be found under the Break Clause. If you are on a periodic tenancy, then you need to give your landlord one month notice to leave the property.
Always check the terms of your agreement as some contracts may ask for different lengths of notice you have to give.
Once you’ve notified your landlord or letting agency that you do not wish to renew your tenancy, you should first make sure you have all your paperwork in order. Check that you retained a copy of your tenancy agreement and dig out any other written accompanying documents, including your move-in inventory report, a copy of the EPC and the Gas Safety Certificate.
You should have been given these at the beginning of your tenancy, however, if you don’t have them, you can request new copies from your landlord.
If you’re unsure of your responsibilities as a tenant, then check back over your original agreement, where these should be clearly listed.
Do a deep clean
Cleaning is the number one reason for landlord/tenant deposit disputes, so the cleaner and tidier you leave the property, the more likely you are to get your full deposit back.
If you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, you can always arrange for a professional, end of tenancy cleaning, prior to your check-out appointment. The upholstery, carpets, windows, curtains, appliances, gutters and outdoor areas will all need to be returned to the same state they were in at the start of your tenancy.
If you do a hire a professional company to clean the property, then make sure you keep any receipts from them as proof of the clean and to avoid any disputes over your deposit.
All rubbish or personal belongings should be removed. Any decorative damage, such as holes caused by picture hooks etc, must be repaired before the inventory check-out is conducted.
Once you have tidied the property, cleaned everything, repaired any damage and removed your belongings, then it is highly recommended that you take pictures of every room in the property and close-ups of any furniture or appliances, preferably with a time stamp.
If any parts of the property were damaged or stained when you moved in, then be sure to take pictures of these when you leave as well.
The more pictures you take the better, as they can be used as evidence for any deposit disputes that arise.
Much like when you move into a property, an inventory should also be completed when you move out. This allows your landlord to identify any deterioration in the condition of the property during the tenancy and inspect the general cleanliness.
Your landlord or letting agent will contact you to arrange the inventory check-out, but it usually takes place a couple of days prior, or on the day of departure. However, we recommend taking your own photos of every room and making comprehensive notes of any faults before this.
TOP TIP: when moving into a new rental home, make sure to take pictures of the property’s condition, which you can then refer back to once your tenancy ends.
Your check-in inventory can be a great tool when moving out, so make sure to go through the original report well in advance of your departure and put back any items that have been moved or put into storage during your tenancy.
Remember to check your tenancy agreement for references to fair wear and tear – this is the process of general wear that landlords must take into account when a tenant leaves a property. Your landlord must make allowances for:
- the age, quality and condition of any item at the start of the tenancy;
- the average useful lifespan of the item;
- the reasonable expected usage of such an item;
- the number and type of occupants in the property; and
- the length of tenancy.
If any further maintenance is required at the end of your tenancy, it’s advisable to get your own repair cost estimates and forward them to your landlord in order to kick-start the process of necessary work taking place.
If your landlord hasn’t arranged a check-in or check-out inventory, then they will struggle to dispute any deposit deductions with you. In this case, make sure you have as much evidence on the state of the property before you move out so that you are in a better position.
Return your keys
When you leave a property, it is essential that the property is locked up, and all copies of the keys are returned.
Keys are usually required to be given back by the move out date (although we recommend checking this with your landlord) and when you hand them over, make sure they are clearly labelled with your name and the property address.
They are best returned in person; however, some letting agents or landlords may allow you to return them by post. If you do choose to mail the keys to your landlord or agent, you will be responsible should they go awry during delivery.
It’s worthwhile asking your letting agent or landlord for a receipt or written confirmation that they have received the keys, which we would recommend holding on to until you have had your security deposit back.
If you fail to return your keys by the specified date, your landlord or letting agent may deduct the cost of replacing the locks from your deposit.
Get your deposit back
Your City Realtor letting agent or landlord will contact you directly to discuss any estimated costs for damage following the check-out report. In most cases, a full refund of your deposit will be given provided there is no damage to the property.
Where the agent holds the deposit, the agent will need written confirmation from both you and your landlord in order to pay deposit monies to either party. Your tenancy agreement detail provisions relating to the return of the deposit.