Moving out can be a fairly long and complicated process. After all, it isn’t just the packing you need to think about – there are a whole host of other things to remember as well.
From the inventory to the deposit, it’s important to be as organised as you can when moving out, in order to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.
I’ve been a tenant moving out several times so I’ve learned this the hard way!
Lettings agencies and landlords can be the most angelic people when it comes to moving into a property. However, when you decide to leave, they can become incredibly picky and difficult to deal with. To avoid this happening to you, follow our rental checklist below and take charge of your moving out process.
First things first: when you know you’re going to be leaving your property, you will need to let your local council know. Otherwise, they will just assume you’re still living there and will continue to charge you accordingly.
Contact them in advance of your move out date and let them know what your forwarding address is going to be. If you don’t, you could miss out on receiving important post after you’ve left.
I always made enquiries with the council as soon as I knew I would be moving out. Even if I didn’t know when exactly it would be it helped me find out what the process was that I needed to follow. As soon as I got a moving date, I got in touch with them again to finalise it.
While on the subject of contacting people, it’s also important to let your utility service providers know that you’re moving. However, make sure they don’t disconnect your services until after you leave. The last thing you want is to be left without heating, electricity or internet.
Here is a list of the utility suppliers you will need to contact:
- Phone & Broadband
- Media Services
Oh, and make sure to take meter readings before you leave. Otherwise, you could be charged for more than you actually owe.
This happened to me once where I forgot to take a reading when I moved out. The energy company tried to charge me more than I owed, especially as I was late letting them know.
After asking the landlord to provide an up-to-date reading I was able to come to an agreement with the energy company and landlord as to an estimate of the reading when I moved out, but it was a hassle I could have done without!
These days, with the use of smart meters the process can be much smoother as you don’t need to provide regular readings. However, we’ve found that not all properties (especially rental properties) have smart meters yet so you might not be able to rely on this.
The inventory that’s conducted when you move into a property is done for a reason. It’s there as a reminder of the condition the property was in when you first signed on, for landlords and letting agencies to compare against when you move out. This makes it easy to see if/where any damage has occurred during your tenancy.
You should have a copy of this inventory yourself, so use it to your advantage. Go through the images that were taken and make sure the condition you leave your property in is as close to the condition you received it in. If you don’t, your landlord could knock a hefty amount off your security deposit as a result.
While it wasn’t strictly related to an ‘inventory’, I did once move out of a flat that my flat mate had painted all the walls from the default beige to bright orange!
Needless to say, the landlord wasn’t too impressed when he found out and we had to agree to returning all the walls back to their original colour before we left. Essentially, the colour of the walls became part of the inventory!
End of tenancy cleaning
One of the easiest ways to ensure your property is looking as good as new by the time you leave is by booking in a specialist cleaning team.
Wherever you are based, there will be a cleaning company not too far away that offers a dedicated end of tenancy cleaning service. This will involve cleaning your place from top to bottom – from the oven in the kitchen, to the shower in the bathroom.
Many landlords often book in a contract cleaner for after you’ve left anyway and will likely charge you for the pleasure. Therefore, beat them to it by sourcing a cost-friendly end of tenancy clean. This will ensure you get a healthy chunk of your deposit back.
One thing I’ve done at a few properties I’ve rented is hire a carpet cleaning machine to give a thorough clean of the carpets before I hand in the keys. They are relatively low cost to hire and can be hired from many supermarkets and DIY stores.
The great thing is they give a new lease of life to a room and make it look cleaner than it was when you moved in! I never lost a deposit when I used this method!
I did learn, though, that it’s best to overlap your tenancy with that of the next place by a day or two. This gives you the chance to move out, then return and get all the carpets cleaned before you hand in the keys.
When it comes to leaving your property once and for all, you will need to return all the keys that were provided to you. This will need to include:
- Front door key
- Back door key
- Shed key
- Window keys
- Radiator key
- Meter cabinet key
Ensuring you give back all your keys is very important from a security point of view. Your landlord could charge you to replace any keys that you have lost during your tenancy.
If I ever found I was missing a spare key, I’d always make sure I got a new one cut before my tenancy ended. It was always much cheaper this way than letting the landlord charge you for a missing key!
When you know you’re moving out, the last thing you want to do is accidentally pay too much rent. Therefore, to ensure this doesn’t happen to you, contact your bank and cancel the standing order you have set up.
Your landlord should only charge you for the rent you owe up to your move-out date. If your move-out date is halfway through the month, for instance, then you should only be charged half the rent. It’s important to keep on top of this – otherwise you could send out more than you need to.
Once you’ve moved out and are in the process of unpacking your bags at your new place, now is the time to keep an eye out for your security deposit being returned to you.
Your lettings agency will go through the inventory again after you’ve left and let you know whether they are charging you for any cleaning or repair work. They’ll also let you know how much of your deposit will be being returned to you, which you can dispute should you feel it has been calculated unfairly.