How to move out of a rental home: A quick checklist when leaving a rental property

Need to move out of your rental home quickly? Here’s how to do it.

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Need to move out of your rental in a few weeks? Maybe you have a place lined up or perhaps you still need to find something. Either way, it can be a stressful time. That's why you need to plan your move out of your rental property and make sure you cover all the bases. 

So let's take a look at how you can make the move as easy as possible, including the dreaded end of lease cleaning. Here are some of our favourite tips that you can tick off from your moving out of a rental checklist.

What to do before leaving a rental property

What to do before leaving a rental property

If you are the one giving notice, you have a lot more time on your hands. However, if you weren't that lucky, you don't have as much time on your hands. So, here's what you need to do before leaving a rental property:

  • Decide how you're going to move early on.  Do you need to hire someone with a truck or a man with a van? Or will it just take a couple of trips in your car?  Make it easier on yourself by getting a removalist to help.

  • Confirm with your real estate agent the exact date you are moving out and agree on when you want to have the final inspection.

  • Stock up on free cardboard boxes from Bunnings or supermarkets.

  • Declutter as much as you can before packing.

  • Start packing up things you don't use often and clean cupboards as you empty them.

  • If you can, have your mail forwarded to your new address at least four weeks before your move.

  • Arrange for the disconnection and reconnection of your utilities. Make sure disconnection takes place after the final inspection. You don't want to be left with any bills that you didn't know about!

Know how much it costs to move house so you have an idea of the amount you need to prepare when leaving your rental property. 

What to do after you move out of your rental home

Cleaning before moving out of a rental property

Before you hand back the keys to the rental property owner, make sure you've ticked off the following tasks.

Clean thoroughly

End of lease cleaning is important so that you can get your entire bond back. Think of this as a spring cleaning before leaving for a new home. Most rental agreements would require you to leave the property in the same condition as when you moved in, except for fair wear and tear.

Your landlord might give you a tenant move out checklist, which details what needs to be done. And if you're lucky, they might want to do some renovations after you leave so they might not be so picky about the state it's left it.

Here's a bit of a checklist to help you out:

  • Sweeping

  • Mopping

  • Vacuuming

  • Oven cleaning

  • Grout cleaning

  • All dust and spiderwebs removed

  • Cleaning windowsills

  • Blinds and curtains should be dust and mark free

  • Carpets steam cleaned

  • Grass mowed

  • Balconies washed down

  • Garden plants maintained

You can get end of lease cleaning experts to help as you pack and move out of your rental property. Find out how much is the average price for end of lease cleaning to add this to your moving expenses. 

Do one final check

After the move, check if the property is empty, including easily overlooked spots like on top of built-in cupboards or under the house. Leaving a roll of toilet paper as a courtesy for the next tenant is a nice touch. However, don't leave half-used cleaning supplies or spare kitchenware, even if you think it might be useful to someone; the landlord might charge you to have them removed.

Extra rental moving tips to get all your bond back

Inspecting rental home before moving out

Be present

It's important that you try to be there for the final inspection, especially because it's often harder for someone to be critical to your face. Check that you have all keys to be returned including window and garage keys, as well as the spare key your mum had. 

Document everything. Take lots of photos of the state you leave the property in so you can compare them if necessary with photos you took when you moved in (hopefully, you remembered to do that!)

Don't underestimate the power of scents

For example, during your end of lease cleaning, freshen all drains by adding tablespoons of bicarb soda, a good splash of vinegar, and several litres of boiled water from your kettle. Everything will seem much more pleasant if there is no nasty smell emanating from the drains.

Chucking orange peels into the oven for half an hour on a low setting can also make the property smell extra nice during the final inspections (just don't forget to remove them before the agent inspects the oven).

Find out if you need to have the carpets steam-cleaned

In NSW, for example, it's actually prohibited for landlords to include a term in your lease requiring you to have the carpets professionally cleaned unless you agreed to it in your lease to keep pets. 

Before going to the expense, make sure to check with your state's tenant's unions as to your legal obligations. If you are required to do so, make sure you keep receipts. If you have pets, also check your lease in case you signed a clause agreeing to fumigation.

Be aware of the laws for renters in your state

Know your rights, responsibilities, and what you can do if there's a dispute over the bond. Don't assume you have to wait for months for your landlord to sign off on your bond release form. For example, in NSW and Victoria, you can sign your form unilaterally and send it to the bond authority, and then the onus is on your landlord to make a claim within a fixed period of time.

Get all prepped for your move with tips from our moving guide and checklist.

Leaving a rental property involves a great deal of planning and work. However, you don’t need to do everything on your own. If you don’t have the time or equipment to cover all tasks when moving out of your rental home, you can hire an Airtasker to help you out on end of cleaning, packing, and other moving tasks. 

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FAQs on moving out of a rental home

The minimum notice you need to give to your landlord or agent depends on your tenancy agreement and the reason for ending your tenancy. For example, if you have a fixed-term tenancy agreement and you have no reason at the end of your term, you need to give a minimum notice of 14 days. The same notice period applies if the reason is a breach of agreement.

This may fall under breaking your lease agreement. In certain cases, you may need to pay the landlord to cover the costs that come with leaving before the lease ends. These may include the remaining rent or advertising fees. However, some valid reasons may allow you to move out before the lease ends without paying costs.

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