Moving out checklist

Here’s a list of all the important things you need to know, clean and do when you move out of a rental home. 

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Moving is stressful enough. Follow these steps to make sure you don't leave anything out. They will help you avoid owing your landlord money after you move.

Give your landlord enough notice

Read your lease carefully. Find out how much notice your landlord requires before you move out. If you don't give enough notice, you could end up paying a big penalty — even if you move out at the end of the lease. In most leases, you need to inform your landlord in writing at least 30 days ahead of time.

For example, let's say your lease ends on Aug. 31. If you move out at the end of August without letting your landlord know, you could end up owing them money — even if the lease is over. Let your landlord know in July that you're going to be leaving at the end of August. 

The important thing to keep in mind is this: if you leave without giving your landlord the full notice they require, you risk owing a big penalty, not getting your security deposit back or even getting sued. 

Want to move out before your lease ends? See some tips about moving out early.

Clean your home

Here are some common things you should take care of before you move:

  • Empty, clean and defrost the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Clean the stove top and oven.
  • Empty and wipe down all cupboards.
  • Clean kitchen sinks and tiles.
  • Clean all the tubs, sinks, toilets and medicine cabinets.
  • Wipe down woodwork and walls.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Vacuum the carpet.
  • Remove all of your things and throw away any trash.

Walk through the unit with your landlord

Schedule a time to walk through your rental unit with your landlord. If you and your landlord can't walk through your rental unit together, take pictures of the way you have left it.

Complete the move out

Your move out process will not be complete until you have done these 2 important things. 

  • Return the keys to your landlord. Get a receipt from your landlord for the keys.
  • Provide your landlord with a forwarding address. Make and keep a copy of the letter where you give your landlord this address.

Get your security deposit back

Your landlord is required to send your security deposit within 30 days. If they don’t send back the full amount, they must instead give you written information about what it’s being used to pay for. 

Getting your security deposit back is not guaranteed. For example, if you, a family member or a guest breaks anything in your rental unit, your landlord can take that money out of your security deposit. The same goes for moving out early. Any money that you owe can be held back from your deposit.

It is just as important to keep in mind that you are not responsible for what’s considered reasonable "wear and tear." If your landlord has not sent your security deposit back, or given you information about what it’s being used to pay for, take action.


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