End of tenancy checklist
If you are on a fixed-term tenancy, read through your tenancy agreement to check what terms are outlined, especially if you're ending the tenancy early. If you are on a periodic tenancy then you need to give your landlord one month notice to leave the property.
Cleaning is the number one reason for tenancy deposit disputes so don't leave yourself too much to do when you move out. Remember that in light of the Tenant Fees Act, your landlord (or letting agent) cannot demand you use a professional cleaning company.
If you’re feeling brave, whip out the marigolds and get stuck in. If you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, you can always arrange for a professional to do it for you prior to your check-out appointment.
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 use as evidence should a deposit dispute arise. Note that all rubbish and personal belongings must be removed, if the outdoor bin is full you will need to remove excess bin bags from the property.
Carry out minor Repairs
Fix any decorative damage such as small holes caused by picture hooks or screws unless you've had permission to use them. If you've painted any walls a different colour without the landlord's consent then you will need to return them to their original colour. Don't forget to replace any light bulbs which have gone if they were working when you moved in.
Once you have cleaned, repaired and removed your belongings, then it is highly recommended that you take pictures of every room and close-ups of any furniture or appliances (preferably with a time stamp).
This is your opportunity to gather evidence should the need arise for it in a deposit dispute, so the more pictures you take the better. Landlords must do the same and be able to prove any deductions they intend to make from a tenancy deposit.
Use the original check-in report to see if anything was damaged/stained/marked when you moved in and use it to compare with how the property is now. Put back any items that have been moved or put into storage during your tenancy.
Much like when you move into a property, an inventory should also be completed when you move out. This will be used by the landlord as evidence should anything be out of line from the original check-in report. Your landlord or letting agent will contact you to arrange the inventory check-out, it usually takes place a couple of days prior or on your day of departure.
If you believe any of your landlord's maintenance costs to be too high, it’s advisable to get your own repair estimates to use as evidence. If your landlord hasn’t arranged a check-in or check-out inventory then they will struggle to dispute any deposit deductions with the tenancy deposit scheme.
To help you assess whether any damage is in excess of fair wear and tear, an inventory check should be completed and agreed with the tenant at the start of the tenancy.
The Government introduced measures to make sure tenancy deposits are protected whilst they are with the landlord or letting agent. This guide covers everything you need to know.
Return the keys
It is essential that you make sure the property is locked up and all keys are returned. Keys are usually required to be given back by the move out date (although check first with your landlord/agent) and clearly label them with your name and the address. It’s worthwhile asking your letting agent or landlord for a written confirmation of their return.
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.
Notify utility companies
Don't forget to take a final meter reading on the last day of your tenancy. You will need to notify the utility companies for gas, electricity and water which you can do at a later date but they will require a final meter reading.
Change of address
You should make arrangements for your post to be redirected at least two weeks prior to vacating the property—it is not the landlord's or future tenant’s responsibility to forward post on. We've put together a handy checklist to help you keep on top of your contacts, including those more obscure and easily missed.
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