Vacating a rental property - what you need to know

publication date: Jul 18, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Top 10 tips to vacating a rental property


As soon as you are thinking of leaving your rental property, the first thing you need to do is check the terms in your tenancy agreement.

The tenancy agreement will be quite specific. It’s likely to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. This means you will have agreed to rent for a minimum period of time which is six months. If you try to leave before then, the landlord has the right to claim the rent for the full six months.

Sometimes they won’t mind you going early if you offer to help towards their re-letting costs - bear in mind these could be several hundred pounds.

If you are beyond the six months timing or renting a room, you will probably have to give one to two months’ notice. Find out more about ending a tenancy with our check-out Checklist.

Once you have established the date you are able to leave, it’s more than just a quick clean round with a  duster and not paying the last month’s rent instead of waiting for your deposit to be returned!

There are a number of steps you must follow before you vacate your rental property.  If you want all your deposit monies back and/or be able to rent another property.

Follow our essential guide below

1.  Clear up any outstanding rental payments to the letting agent/landlord and ensure you receive any money they agreed to pay you (again best to have this in writing) eg money for repairs you carried out, re-decoration etc.

2.   Make sure you cancel your rent payment in time and on the correct date as sometimes it can be a hard and lengthy process to get the monies back you have overpaid.

3.  Discuss with your agent or landlord about cancelling utilities including gas, electricity, phone/internet/cable, water, TV licence and your council tax. If it’s the original telephone number then your landlords may want to keep the line live.

4.  Ensure on the day you move that the meter readings (gas, electricity and water) are independently checked or give 10 days’ notice to your local utility companies to come out and take the readings for you – although they are increasingly reluctant to do so.

To make this quick and easy, take a photo of the meters on the day you move out.

5.  Don’t forget to change your address for everyone as the next tenants or the landlord/agent may not pass anything onto you or can’t if you haven’t left a forwarding address.

6.  Contact your insurance company to find out if your belongings will be covered while they are being moved. If they aren’t ask a man with a van or removal company if they provide this cover for you.

7.  Set up your utilities and services in your next home. You may be able to transfer your TV licence easily on-line visit the TV Licence website 

8.  Have all the keys ready to hand back to the agent/landlord on move out day. DO NOT give them to a new tenant yourself.

9.  Keep hold of your tenancy agreement and paperwork until you have had your deposit returned in full.

10.  Ask for a reference ‘to whom it may concern’ which states you were a good tenant and paid your bills on time.

Find out more about how to get your deposit back with our checklist from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

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All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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