Checklist In the Tenant Moving-Out Process

You are an honest person, a law-abiding citizen and a tenant with a good reputation. You can always count on getting high marks and good reviews from colleagues and trusted landlords. So how can you make sure that you maintain a good reputation, that you get your deposit back and that you get a good reference from your previous landlord when you make your next move? Let's take a look at what to do and what not to do to protect your reputation, nerves, and money.

When tenants are in the process of moving out, some common mistakes or problems can occur. These can lead to disputes with landlords, having deposits deducted or other complications. Let's take a look at some of the most common mistakes or problems tenants encounter when moving out.

  • Insufficient notice: Failure to give the required notice in accordance with the tenancy agreement can lead to legal problems.
  • No cleaning: A common problem is leaving the property dirty or in poor condition.
  • Repair neglect: Failing to address or report maintenance issues during the tenancy can lead to bigger problems when you move out.
  • Lack of documentation of previous damage: Failure to document and report pre-existing damage when moving in can lead to disputes over responsibility.
  • Unauthorised alterations: Making significant alterations to the property without the landlord's permission is a common mistake.
  • Leaving belongings behind: Under the assumption that the landlord will dispose of them, tenants often leave personal belongings behind. This can lead to extra charges or disputes.
  • Failure to return keys: Failure to return all keys and access devices (e.g. garage door openers) can lead to charges or problems with security deposit refunds.
  • Late or non-payment of rent: Some tenants do not check the lease for any specific provisions regarding the last month's rent and therefore mistakenly believe that there is no need to pay rent during the last month of the lease.
  • No forwarding address: Tenants are required to provide their landlord with a forwarding address for returning the deposit and other important documents.
  • Ignoring lease terms: Failure to comply with the terms of the lease, for example, cleaning requirements or the condition of the property when it is handed back, may give rise to a dispute.

Proper Interaction Between Tennant and Landlord

It's vital that tenants read and understand their lease, communicate effectively with their landlord and follow the correct procedures when moving out to avoid these common mistakes.

A well-organised move-out procedure is therefore essential for both landlords and tenants. The sooner the tenant leaves, the sooner the landlord can prepare the property for the next occupier. It's important for the landlord to clearly identify any areas that need to be repaired or replaced after the tenant has moved out. The tenant should also be informed of the potential refund status of their deposit.

In order to be better prepared for the start of the eviction procedure, you should take care of the following points

  • Confirm that the tenant has given proper notice to vacate the premises in accordance with the tenancy agreement.
  • Check the move-out date and arrange a final inspection.
  • Stress the importance of leaving the property clean and tidy.
  • Give specific cleaning instructions for each area of the property (e.g. kitchen, bathroom, floors).
  • Make sure that the move-out checklist is used as a must!

Landlords may choose to use a general checklist, which serves as a useful cleaning guide when moving out, while others may prefer a more detailed version, covering each room or space vacated by the tenant. The ultimate aim of the checklist is to ensure that the property is left in optimum condition, facilitating a full and speedy refund of the deposit. This checklist can be a stand-alone document or an addendum to the lease.

Whilst there may be variations in move-out checklists depending on the type of rental accommodation, it is advisable to use a comprehensive checklist for each room or rented area, regardless of the rental space. Joint inspections by the tenant and landlord, walking through each room together, are essential during the move-out process. This ensures a comparison of the condition of the premises with the condition documented during the initial check-in inspection, and allows any new damage beyond normal wear and tear to be recorded. As an additional precaution, it is considered best practice to include photographic evidence alongside the documentation.

Key Points When Moving Out

So here's a condensed version of the key points and an example of an exit checklist, with the above in mind:

1. Checklist purpose:

  • Document the condition of the property when leaving.
  • Assist in identifying areas requiring repair or replacement.
  • Facilitate a fair assessment of the refund of the deposit.

2. Types of Checklists:

  • General checklist for overall property cleanliness.
  • Detailed checklist covering each room or space.

3. Inspection Process:

  • The property should be inspected by the tenant and landlord together.
  • Compare the condition with the move-in inspection.
  • Record any new damage that is beyond the normal wear and tear.

4. Documentation Methods:

  • Use a combination of written documentation and photographic recording.
  • Visual evidence can support claims related to damages.

5. Security Deposit Refund:

  • The checklist helps determine whether the tenant receives a full or partial refund.
  • Clearly communicate the conditions under which deductions may occur.

6. Room-Specific Checklists:

  • Customize checklists for different rooms or areas in the property.
  • Define cleaning and maintenance tasks for each room.

Example of a Moving-Out Checklist:

Living Room:

  • Cleaning of carpets and floor coverings.
  • Wipe down surfaces, including shelves and furniture.
  • Check that there is no damage to the walls, doors or windows.
  • Make sure all personal items are removed.


  • Clean all appliances, including the refrigerator, oven, and microwave.
  • Wipe down work surfaces and cupboards.
  • Check sinks and taps for leaks or damage.
  • Empty and clean cabinets.


  • Scrubbing and sanitising the bath, shower and toilet.
  • Clean mirrors and countertops.
  • Check for any plumbing issues.
  • If necessary, replace any missing or damaged tiles.


  • Vacuum carpets or clean floors.
  • Dust and clean surfaces, including closets.
  • Check for any damage to walls or doors.
  • Ensure all personal items are removed.

General Areas:

  • Replace bulbs as necessary.
  • Check smoke alarms and replace batteries.
  • Clean windows and windowsills.
  • Sweep and mop floors throughout the property.


  • Remove any personal items from the yard or balcony.
  • Clean and sweep outdoor spaces.
  • Report any exterior damages or issues.

Final Steps:

  • Return any keys, access cards or other items provided.
  • Provision of mailing address for deposit refund.
  • Sign and acknowledge the completed moving inspection.

Please keep in mind that this checklist is a general template, and you may need to adapt it to the unique features and conditions of your rental property. It is crucial clearly communicate what you expect to achieve and maintain transparency throughout the move-out process.

We hope that you found this article both interesting and useful.

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