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Rental Move – Rental Moving Checklist

Rental Move – Rental Moving Checklist

The one thing that is constant in life is change. Americans are always on the move. It has been estimated that a person in the United States can expect to move 11.7 times in their lifetime based upon the current age structure and average rates and allowing for no more than one move per single year. Most of these moves occur before a home is purchased. With over 20% of renters moving each year we thought it would be good to put together a Rental Moving Checklist to take some of the worry and confusion out of your move.

When the time comes move to a new rental location, most likely you will not be very sad about leaving that rental property to move onward and forward in life. You will want the move to be without difficulty and the moving out process to be without any problems or conflicts (mainly to ensure that you get your security deposit back) with the landlord to have them as a good reference in the future..

If the terms of your rental contract are strict or not you still should do these things to ensure you are leaving the property in good condition for the new residents.  

Our Residential Moving Checklist below will help you cleanly close this chapter in your life with no regrets.

What are your responsibilities?

Once you have made the decision to move take a few minutes and review your rental contract to confirm what your responsibilities are at the closing of the contract. Do not wait till moving day to do this. You will want to have time to make any repairs and give notice as required to ensure you can get your deposit back

You will want to make sure to review and special terms that may have been negotiated on the contract as well as information on utility transfers and maintenance obligations.

Once you have taken the time to refresh yourself on what is expected from you when moving out of the rental property,  put together a timeline on a paper or digital calendar to be sure that you do not miss one of the times on your to do list.

Giving proper notice of your move

 Your lease or rental agreement will state the amount of time required to give notice of your move. It is most common for a minimum 30 day notice to be given though some contracts may request a longer period. Most contracts require that the notice be provided in writing.

In your written notice you need to be polite and clearly state the move out date, a statement of the well maintained condition of the rental property, your new address and contact information. This will show good faith in being able to be reached – that you are not running out leaving repairs undone. You will want to close your letter with the request to receive your security deposit refunded to the new mailing address provided.

If you have to vacate the property prior to your lease expiring you need to provide a justifiable reason(s) for leaving in advance and request that your landlord kindly cancel the remainder of the lease. In some cases you will have the ability to sublet the property to someone else. In this case the new tenant will be paying you rent and you’ll be paying the landlord. The Landlord may also choose to re-rent the location If a suitable replacement tenant is not found, however, you could still be held responsible for paying rent for the unpaid balance of the lease term.


Repair Damages That Occurred During Your Rental

You need to carefully go through each room and document each item that needs extra special attention, cleaning or repair. It is your responsibility to ensure all issues are addressed before you vacate the property.

It is your responsibility as contracted in your rental agreement to return the property to the same condition as when you moved into the rental. Make sure you compare the condition of the house or apartment to the condition report completed when you moved in (if documented) to correctly sort out what you are responsible to repair.

Property owners and leasing agents expect some normal wear and tear. Additional items you may want to consider are:


Inspect your walls – you will be looking for any nail or screw holes that have been made to hang art, pictures or shelving, etc. Check for any damage to wooden trim as well. Take a bit of time and repair each item, fill in holes and chipped off corners, fix deep scratches or indentions, replace any damaged door trim pieces. Once repairs have been made it is time to repaint as per your rental agreement;

Inspect Windows – Replace any cracked or broken glass;

Inspect Plumbing and Electric – Check under sinks and around tub, toilets and showers for any signs of leaking and repair. Do not forget to check the laundry room as well. Note any electric outlets or fixtures not working and hire a professional to repair or notify owner/leasing agent for how they would prefer to handle;

Check the smoke alarms and fire alarms to see if in working condition. Also you want to make sure that the kitchen appliances are in working order. If you have a private laundry in your rental you will want to make sure the washer and dryer are in working order as well.

For a house rental (not apartment), you should also check the following:

Roof Inspection – Inspect the roof, replace broken shingles or loose/damaged flashing, and have the chimney swept if applicable;

Check Fencing – Repair any damage to the fencing on the property including gates and latches;

Check Outdoor Lighting – Test all outdoor lighting and replace bulbs as needed;

Clean up the Landscaping – Trim up overgrown trees and bushes and make sure you mow the lawn close to your moving date;

Garage Inspection – Make sure the garage is in the same condition it was when you moved in. Clean up any oil or fluid spills, verify garage door in working condition and not in need of repairs

Good to remember:

Save your receipts! Retain receipts for all repairs performed prior to your move. Documentation of  the materials you purchased and services you paid for need to be retained until you have moved and your deposit has been returned.

Permanent Improvements: If you made an approved permanent improvement to the property, you can request the amount of money you spent on them to be deducted from your last rent if that was part of your agreement.

Time for a Thorough Cleaning

Leaving a property clean is the easiest thing you can do to earn your right to the return of your deposit. Once all repairs have been made, the cleaning can commence. If you do not wish to tackle this on your own there are many services that can be hired that can do a complete job for you. Save receipts for payment for these services as well in case of any conflict post move.

Document the process – You should take photos and videos as you clean to document the cleanliness and the condition of the property. Note that you are fully responsible for any damage that may have been caused by the movers during the move out process; you would be compensated for these damages based on your contract with the moving company. Make sure movers are dutifully protecting the floors, walls, doors, stairs, etc. of your rental home when removing your property.

You can refer to your lease agreement for specific cleaning requirements. In some cases it is requested that you use professional cleaning services for carpeting, flooring, etc.

Deep Cleaning Checklist for Moving from Rental

Clean inside and outer windows (when possible) and wipe down all sills and trim;

Clean window treatments including curtains and blinds, as appropriate;

Wipe down doors and door frames, cabinet and closet handles, light switches, etc.;

Thoroughly clean all kitchen appliances that are remaining on the property as well as the floor and walls under and behind refrigerator and stove;

Clean and disinfect all sinks, tubs, showers, etc.;

Wipe down and disinfect all countertops, cabinet tops, and other permanent surfaces;

Clean the bathroom and sanitize the toilet, wipe out drawers and cabinets, clean mirrors;

Dust bookcases and any furniture that will remain in the rentals as well as ceiling fans and lights;

If you rented a furnished property it is wise to steam clean the mattresses and upholsteries such as couch and chairs (you may be required to have them professionally cleaned before moving out of the rental – check your rental agreement);

Vacuum all rugs and have carpets steam cleaned (or have them professionally cleaned);

Sweep and mop floors before final exit of property;

Dispose properly of all garbage (do not leave in can in rental);

Make sure the lawn area is clean. If your rental included a yard, clear the pathways of dead leaves and debris. Rake the yard clear of debris also make sure that the gutters are clear;

Be sure to clean any outbuildings such as garages, patios, sheds, balconies, etc.

Moving Tip –  You will need to give the property a final sweep after your items have been taken out, but it is much easier on moving day if you have to completed all the “deep” cleaning tasks in advance– this will save you from the additional stress on moving day.

Pay Off Your Utility Bills

Clear Rental Finances – pay off the utility bills that are related to the rental (gas, electricity, and water), service fees (for Internet, cable TV, and phone), waste management fee, etc.

Some utilities are managed through the leasing company and are not necessary to be transferred or discontinued. Contact your utility companies and arrange for the services at your rental to be disconnected on the day or day after your move, or after final cleaning date.make sure before you leave the property for the last time that you record meter readings of gas, electricity, and water meters for your rental property. This is best done by taking a photograph of the meter for proof.

 Don’t forget to have utilities turned on or transferred to your new location as well!

Remove All Your Personal Belongings from the Rental

None of your personal belongings should remain in or on the rental property; you can be billed for the removal and disposal of your property.

Storage places to check

Verify all drawers and cupboards have been emptied – check each for forgotten items, cleaning products, office supplies, etc.;  

Make sure to check the attic, basement, and garage –  look in the rafters, check for forgotten tools and yard equipment, stored fuel, etc.;

Remove your gardening materials; take your flower pots and garden decorations, etc.

Schedule a Move-Out Final Inspection

Make sure you arrange a final walk through inspection with your property manager or landlord before your move out date to be sure to get this inspection on or near your move date and before the utilities are disconnected/ transferred. Be polite and have your well documented receipts of any repairs on hand with you if you should need to discuss any issues and concerns your landlord may have. Once the walk through is completed you can then request your tenancy deposit back knowing you left your rental in great shape and you have earned the respect (and future good referral) of your landlord.

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