End of Lease Tenants Guide: Stress-Free Checklist for Moving Home
Moving into a new home can be very exciting. It can also be very stressful. This end-of-lease moving guide is designed to help you make sure you experience a smooth move rather than a rough ride.
We like to think our checklist is pretty comprehensive and we are confident that by following it, moving out of a rented property and moving into your new home will be less stressful and more exciting.
How much time you give yourself to do all these tasks will depend on how much you need to do – so we recommend you scan through the list now and decide how much time to give yourself – some people need at least 2 months.
Check Your Tenancy Agreement
Before tenants vacate a rented property, you will typically have several responsibilities to fulfil. It’s best practice to check your obligations well in advance of the moving date.
Before you move out of your current home, double-check the date the lease expires. Does this coincide with your moving in date? If not, that will cause problems like storage and hotels that could otherwise be avoided.
Make sure you book hotels and storage space several days in advance.
Check the tenancy agreement and determine what your end-of-lease obligations are. These typically include:
- Leaving the accommodation in a good state of repair
- Thoroughly cleaning the accommodation so its suitable for the new tenants
- Handing in the keys and fobs
- Ensuring everything in the inventory is present and in working order
- The landlord should inform you of your obligations at least two weeks before you are due to move out. You should check their requirements against your tenancy agreement to ensure they correspond. Some landlords try and make you do things that was not originally agreed when you first moved in. You should also be invited to the end-of-lease inspection.
This little lot will inevitably play a major part in your end-of-lease checklist so make sure you give yourself sufficient time to fit it all in – the aim is to breeze through the list at a canter rather than rushing around like a blue-arsed fly on the day your move.
Attend to the Inventory
When you moved in to your current home, your landlord should have given you an inventory of things in the property. This usually includes furniture and fittings.
You should refer to the inventory to make sure everything is present and correct – otherwise the landlord can use this as an excuse to hold back some of your deposit.
- If there are any objects on the inventory that are missing from the house, or that are broken, you should inform the landlord or letting agent and ask them how to best replace or repair them.
- Start fixing things like nail holes and scuff marks well in advance. Performing tasks bit by bit will not be stressful. Don’t leave everything until the last day and give yourself a hernia.
- Check all lightbulbs are working and replace if necessary, as letting agents can ask an electrician to do that , and he would obviously charge his fees on top of cost of lightbulbs
- Make sure you have all the keys and fobs for the property. If any have been misplaced, get some cut otherwise you will be charged for missing keys.
If you do not fulfil your responsibilities, the landlord can retain some or all of your deposit – so it’s in your best interests to follow instructions.
It’s the little odds and sods of admin duties that often get overlooked – so pay extra attention to this section.
- Secure time off work. Depending on the size of your property, the amount of belongings you have and the distance you have to travel to the new place, you may want to take a good couple of days off to take everything in a stress-free stride.
- Inform the Post Office to redirect your mail to the new address from the date of your move
- You will need to inform all utility companies you are changing addresses otherwise you will be liable for service you are not using. Utility companies include:
- Gas and electric
- Water board
- Telephone / Broadband
- TV licence
- Alternative fuel supplier (propane gas, wood chips, coal)
You will also need to inform institutions you receive sensitive data from:
- Driving license
- Child’s school/university
- Local authority (Council tax, JSA or other benefit agency)
- Companies House (if relevant)
- Family and friends
- Return library books/DVDs
- Update your address on ecommerce websites, e.g. Amazon, eBay
- Also cancel any local services you use such as newspapers, cleaners, window cleaners, fuel delivery
Just in case you need any tips on packing…
- Start decluttering at least a month in advance. It’s a waste of time, energy and space to pack things you will dispose of after unpacking. Most waste collection companies will only take as many bags a week, if you dump many rubbish bags outside the property there is a risk of heavy penalty from the council
- Take all unwanted items that are in usable condition to a local charity shop, one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, and money goes to a good cause
- Buy sturdy packaging boxes or grab some banana boxes from your local supermarket. Avoid large boxes as they are too heavy to carry.
- Start packing boxes with less-used items first because you will probably stack other boxes on top of them.
- Label the boxes so you know what’s inside.
- Search for removal companies and book well in advance. Alternatively, hire a rental van and do your own lifting and driving.
- In a separate box – or two – pack clothes and any other odds and sods you will need for your first night in the new house; bed clothes, shower gel, towel, toothbrush and paste, makeup, hair brush etc.
Hire a Professional Cleaning Service
Most tenancy agreements include a clause specifying the accommodation should be left clean. Look for a clause that specifies whether you have to hire a professional cleaning service to steam-clean upholstery, carpets and linen.
Landlords insist the accommodation is spotless and ready for the new tenants to move in. When landlords deem the place to be unfit for new tenants, they will hire a professional cleaning service themselves and remove the cost from your deposit.
- Ask the landlord or letting agent if an end of tenancy cleaning is required, and if so, what exactly need to be done e.g appliances, ovens, carpets, soft furnishings, windows etc.
- Also ask the letting agent to recommend a professional cleaning company. They will probably give you the service provider they use – which gives you an opportunity to compare prices.
- Whilst you are scouting for a professional end-of-lease cleaning company, present them with the list of requirements given to you by the letting agency or landlord. This will enable them to give you an accurate price so there are no surprise charges or items that are left unattended on the day you move.
- Defrost the freezer – this is usually a requirement included in the tenancy agreement. It takes ages to defrost at the last minute, and you will end up paying for it to be defrosted manually.
- Descale toilet – Due to hard water in UK and especially in London, toilets accumulate a lot of limescale below water level, this is often impossible to fully remove on the day of the clean, we recommend Harpic original 100% limescale remover. Apply it before you go to work in the morning, and after few days limescale will be gone. Do Not apply on chrome surfaces as it may tarnish the chrome finish!
- Don’t attempt to clean carpet spots yourself using various products that proudly say Carpet Cleaner, those don’t work and make the matter worse.
- Keep your receipts to prove you hired a professional cleaning service should your landlord refuse to pay back your full deposit. In cases where the landlord is unhappy, cleaners should return to resolve the issue without any additional charge to you
- Although all end of tenancy cleaners claim their service is Fully guaranteed, some only guarantee their service for 48 hours, which is insufficient time for an official report to be produced and sent to tenants. Those companies rely on that, think twice you need at least 7 days
Moving Into Your New Home
By the time the moving date comes round, we expect you will have everything organized – especially if you’ve followed our checklist. There’s still a couple of things to tick of the day before and on the day of your move though!
- Given you have adhered to your responsibilities and cleaned the accommodation you are moving out of, its only right that your should expect equal treatment in your new accommodation. Ask your new landlord or letting agent whether the property you are moving into has also been professionally cleaned – feel free to given them our contact details (wink)
- If you are using your own vehicle for the move and expecting to do a lot of driving, fill the tank up the evening before. The last thing you want is a delay to refuel.
- In case you are using movers , you need to ensure they can park close enough to your new property , you may need to speak to local council to reserve a bay or two for the mover’s vans, or movers may demand extra fees
- Before you move in to your new home, take detailed photographs of everything and run through the inventory to make sure there is nothing damaged, scratched or not working. If you do find something that looks damaged report it to the letting agents immediately.
- Take the meter readings for the gas, electric and water from your old home together with photographic evidence so you are not charged for utilities you have not used.
- Take the meter readings in your new home for the same reason.
- Before you finally leave, make sure all the doors and windows are closed, the lights and utilities are switched off, and the hot water tank is not on a timer.
Remember that landlords have the right to refuse paying tenants your deposit in full, or in part if the terms of the contract are not fulfilled at the end of your lease. It is common for landlords to make little deductions for scuffed walls, or stains that have not been entirely removed. It may sound unreasonable, but it is the way it is.
Should a dispute arise, you will have to negotiate with your landlord and come to an appropriate agreement. The best way to resolve an argument with a landlord is to avoid a dispute in the first place!
This article is available as an infographic and you can access it here
We wish you a happy and hassle-free move, feel free to get in touch if you need friendly advice or help!