Moving out can be one of the most stressful experiences for most people — if you’ve successfully achieved it stress-free, you’re probably either lying or you paid someone to do it for you.
There are so many things to remember, and most of the time it’s all done at the last minute. It can be completely overwhelming!
But it doesn’t have to be such a random array of boxes and frantic cleaning. Make a clear list of things you need to do and cross them off as you go. Here are some important things to remember to get you started.
Important dates and landlord communication
You know the end of the tenancy is coming up, so make sure you communicate with your landlord that you intend to move out. Normally, the estate agent will message you to learn of your intentions.
If you call the landlord to discuss the terms and dates of the exit, make sure you have everything in writing. Make notes about what was discussed and send a follow-up email or letter to confirm what was agreed.
Your tenancy agreement sets out rules regarding when and how often your landlord can access the property when your tenancy is coming to an end (normally to conduct viewings). This can differ from state to state, but usually, you must give reasonable access in the last three weeks of the tenancy, providing you have been given 24 hours notice each time.
Whatever the case, friendly communication with the landlord is key during this stage. Let them know what dates work for you and don’t kick up too much of a fuss — it’s often not worth the stress.
A pre-final inspection walk-through with the manager or landlord before the exit date is advisable. If there are issues that you believe you can fix prior to moving out, have them back to approve these once complete.
Utilities and standing orders
You don’t want to keep being charged for utilities after you’ve left the premises. So, if you can, ensure you disconnect the utilities that are supplied in your name when you vacate. Take dated pictures of the electricity, gas and water meters for your records to make sure you are charged correctly. If any utility bills are in the landlord’s name then make sure you see a copy of the final charge, as this should be worked out on a pro-rata basis.
Ensure that all rents and fees have been paid in full. It’s a common situation for tenants to think they’ve paid their final maintenance fees and realise they haven’t. Once you have established this, make sure you have no more standing orders being paid either to the landlord or the utilities — you don’t want to be chasing money a month after you’ve moved out!
Clean, clean, and then clean a bit more
Remember that sparkly clean home you moved into? Well, you’re responsible for returning the property to the same condition — allowing for natural wear and tear.
This job is made easier if you request an original condition report and try to replicate it. Then, give the home a thorough clean from top to bottom. Hiring an exit cleaning company is expensive, but it can normally ensure every nook and cranny is spotless.
Re-read your contract regarding the cleanliness of the abode, as often you’re required to professionally clean the carpets. If you have pets, you may also be required to fumigate the home.
If you’ve made any changes to the property, then you should reverse these alterations. But, as with all of the exit process, a healthy relationship with the landlord is desirable, as you can simply ask what is required of you.
The final bits and pieces
When you’re packing up and leaving, make sure you leave no trace that you were there. Whether it’s trash or a nice chair you think goes well with the property that the next tenant might enjoy. You may even think that you’re doing someone a favour by leaving cleaning supplies — the landlord may not see it this way and may charge you to have things removed.
Ensure you’ve arranged a final inspection. The timing of this should be stipulated in the tenancy agreement, but most will be in the last month of the lease — ideally on the last day.
Some landlords may request that this takes place after you’ve moved out, which is fine, but make sure you or a representative are present. Dust could settle or leaves could fall in a few days, so it’s helpful if you have a dated video or pictures of the property on the day you move out.
Finally, never sign a blank bond form! Ensure you and the landlord have agreed on what, if any, damages to the premises there are and how much this will cost.
Once all of this is done, turn in your keys and let everyone know you’re moving — this includes friends and organisations who need to know, but also the Agent so you can receive the deposit in a timely manner.
And breathe — you’ve made it out and into your new place. Ready to do in all again in a couple of years time… or is it now time to buy?
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