The Essential Moving-Out Checklist: A Renter's Guide to a Smooth Transition

The Essential Moving-Out Checklist: A Renter's Guide to a Smooth Transition
Moving out of your rented house? It’s important to be organised, not only for your wellbeing (dealing with a transition can be stressful!) but also to ensure there are no delays in getting your deposit back. 

Here’s some information you might need to manage your move, and a handy checklist you can use in the run up to moving day.

How much notice do you need to give to end your tenancy?

This will depend on what it says in your tenancy agreement, which will depend on what type of tenancy you have.

If you have a ‘fixed term’ tenancy, you’ll need to pay rent right up to the last day of your tenancy agreement unless there is a break clause in your agreement (in which case, you’d need to give however much notice the break clause specifies). You could also end the tenancy early if your landlord agrees - be sure to get that agreement in writing or they could later claim that you still owe rent for the rest of the term.

If you have a ‘periodic’ tenancy, renting your home on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis, your tenancy agreement might specify how much notice you should give. The minimum notice period for this type of tenancy is:
  • 4 weeks’ notice (for week-by-week tenancies)
  • 1 month’s notice (for monthly tenancies)
  • The same period as your tenancy period (e.g. if you pay for 4 months at a time, you’d need to give 4 months’ notice).
You must have completely moved out by the end of the notice period. If this will be difficult, you could try to negotiate with your landlord to move out a little later (you’d need to pay rent for that period). 

If your new home isn’t ready for you before you have to move out, you could use a self storage unit to store your belongings in the meantime. Our self storage units are available for as little or as long as you need, and we have units in various sizes to accommodate anything from a few boxes of personal items right up to the contents of a large house. 

How to get your full deposit back after ending a tenancy

You’re entitled to your full deposit back at the end of your tenancy unless your landlord has a legitimate reason for withholding some or all of it. Those legitimate reasons are:
  • You haven’t paid all your rent;
  • You have outstanding utility bills (if this has cost your landlord any money);
  • You haven’t cleaned the property to the same standard it was in when you moved in;
  • You haven’t kept the garden in the same state it was in when you moved in;
  • You have redecorated or made other changes without the landlord’s consent, or caused damage that means redecoration is needed (normal wear and tear cannot be charged for).
  • If there is damage to the property or landlord’s contents (including damage from condensation if this was your fault), but not if this is due to mould/damp that was the landlord’s responsibility, damage from a burglary or vandalism you’ve reported to your landlord, or simply normal wear and tear.
  • There are missing items (this can be as petty as missing cutlery or lightbulbs);
  • You’ve broken your tenancy agreement (e.g. not given enough notice).

Moving out checklist for tenants 

With all of the above in mind, here is a checklist of what you’ll need to do when moving out of your rented home. 

Two months before the move:
1. Read your tenancy agreement. This will tell you if there are specific things you need to do before ending your tenancy, such as having the professionally cleaned. If there are any terms you feel are not fair (e.g. the house was not professionally cleaned before you moved in, and you feel you shouldn’t have to pay for this before you move out), the Citizens’ Advice Bureau might be able to support you or offer advice. Your tenancy agreement will also tell you how much notice to give.

2. Make sure you give the correct amount of notice. If you have a good relationship with your landlord, it can be helpful to them to have more notice than you’re required to give.

3. Get your paperwork in order. If you have any receipts for repairs you’ve had carried out, or anything in writing from your landlord to approve redecoration or any changes to the property, be prepared to produce these if there is an argument about your deposit.

4. Declutter. Now is a good time to donate, sell or recycle unused or unwanted furniture or other belongings. Maybe you still have boxes from your last move that you didn’t even get round to unpacking; maybe some belongings won’t fit or suit your new place. Don’t take all that clutter with you - make a fresh start and save a lot of time and energy on moving day!

One month before the move:
5. Consider whether to use self storage. If there’ll be a delay between moving out of your current property and into your new home, you could store your belongings and contents in a self storage unit. If your new home is ready to move into, you could use self storage to reduce costs and time on moving day, by moving nonessential items (e.g. spare beds, bedside tables etc) into a storage unit in the weeks before moving day. Move them into your new home when you’re settled.

6. Get quotes for removals. If your property is an apartment, make sure your removals company is able to access it easily and check their policy on what happens if they damage any of the communal areas (e.g. scratch wallpaper on the staircase). If you’re going to move any furniture into self storage before moving day, make sure the removals company takes that into account when giving you a quote.

7. Contact your utilities providers and the council. Make sure your water, gas, electricity and broadband providers have the date of when you’ll be moving out. You might be able, for instance, to continue your broadband package from your new address, or freeze it for a while until you have settled somewhere new. Let the council know you’ll be moving out so that your council tax can be billed correctly. Provide a forwarding address for any final bills.

8. Check your inventory. If items are missing that were in the property when you moved in, you’ll need to replace these or risk losing some of your deposit if the landlord has to do that. 

One week before the move:
9. Check for signs of damage, and clean. You need to put the property back to the same condition it was in when you moved in (although normal wear and tear is acceptable). This is a lot easier if your personal belongings are packed up, and any excess belongings or contents are out of the way (e.g. in your self storage unit). If you have photos from when you moved in, use those to compare the conditions from when you moved in.
10. Ask if your landlord wants to make a check-out inspection. Your landlord might want to see the property on the day you move out, and this is a good time to agree on the deposit return. Arrange it for later in the day when you’ll have moved your belongings to your new home and had time to give everything a final clean.

On the day of the move:
11. Clean again. Cleaning fees are one of the main reasons why full deposits aren’t returned by landlords. Once all your belongings are out of the property, you’ll be able to see whether there are any stains or areas that need a good clean (skirting boards, behind the sofa, etc). 

12. Read your meters and inform your utilities providers. Check gas, electric and water readings (take photos to evidence these) and submit them to your utilities providers. 

13. Take photos. Before the removals company comes, take photos (and a video) of the communal areas your removals company will pass through. If your landlord claims that damage has been incurred during the move, you’ll have evidence of what state the property was in immediately before the move. 

14. Take more photos. After all your belongings have gone, take photos and a video of the communal areas once more, and also take photos and a video of your property to evidence what state you’ve left it in. If there is a later dispute about cleanliness or the condition of carpets etc, you’ll have evidence to support your side.

15. Double check your rent is up to date. Ask the landlord if you can agree to the return of the deposit as soon as possible (ideally at the check-out inspection); they have to return your deposit within 10 days of agreeing the amount.

Hopefully, this checklist will ensure that your moving day will be as stress-free as possible, and that your deposit will be returned without fuss. If you think having a self storage unit would help your move run more smoothly, give us a call (0800 444 800) or message us via LiveChat and one of our friendly team will give you any information you need and find the right storage unit in the right location, and at the right price, for you.


Get a Self Storage Quote

Find a store by entering a postcode, city or town below.
Find a store & Get a quote

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
 Security code
There are no comments yet
Complete your quote

You’re almost done!

Complete your quote at