When you move home, if you are renting the property you are vacating then your obligations to third parties are considerably different to those of an owner-occupier.
The specifics of what you will need to do may vary depending upon the country you live in and its individual laws and regulations. Even so, many of the following will typically be required and this may serve as a useful checklist.
- You will be obliged to provide your landlord or their agents with a notice covering your intention to terminate your rental agreement and that notice will need to be a minimum period of time before you depart. That notice period will usually be documented in your existing rental documentation.
- You will need to notify all of the utility providers concerned that you will no longer be responsible for things such as water, gas, electric and telephone charges from the specified date and time and that you will be vacating the property.
- Your rental contract probably obliges you to leave the property and its surroundings in the same condition you found them. What that means is you will either need to thoroughly clean the property once all of your furniture and possessions are out of it or pay someone to do that for you. Many professional furniture removals companies will be able to offer such cleaning services.
- Remember that the above point also typically applies to any garden areas. If the garden was relatively tidy when you moved in but you are leaving it a jungle, your landlord may be legally entitled to deduct from your deposit the cost of any gardening services required in order to restore things. So, it’s better to do this yourself and keep control of the costs concerned.
- One of the most frequently controversial aspects of vacating rented property is that much-dreaded inventory. Everything that you signed for when you took possession of the property, as being in place and in good order and condition, will need to be exactly the same upon your departure (though some allowances can be made for fair ‘wear and tear’ plus aging). If you do not do so, your landlord may be able to replace the item or items concerned with new ones and again recover the costs from any residual deposit of yours they are holding.
- Closely related to the above point, though in some respects different, is the issue of the state of repair of the inside of the property. Broadly speaking, the law will usually provide for some allowance being made for normal deterioration of decoration (and also sometimes equipment) over time. However, the definition of wear over time won’t cover things such as ripped wallpapers or badly chipped paintwork etc. Remember though, before undertaking any restoration prior to moving out, you may need the landlord’s permission.
- The landlord may be legally entitled to hold on to your deposit for a specified period of time after your departure. This is a complex area and depends a lot upon when your final exit inventory is taken and the individual laws in your country. However, it is always a good idea to try and ensure that the landlord’s exit inventory is taken at the time you move out and with you in attendance.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that when tenants leave rented property the position can be controversial and some friction can arise between the two parties concerned and even sometimes third parties such as utility providers. Taking some of the above steps and acting well in advance should help you reduce the possibilities of such occurring in your situation.