What To Do at the End of Your Tenancy

You’re coming to the end of your tenancy agreement, and you’re ready to move on. If you’re not quite sure of what the moving out process entails, we’ve got you covered; read on for a summary of everything you need to know about ending your tenancy.

How do I end my tenancy?

First of all, you will need to let your landlord know by email or letter if you want to end your tenancy, which is known as ‘giving notice’. You will then have to pay rent until the end of the notice period, which varies in length depending on your contract. It’s worth noting that, if you don’t give notice properly, you might be charged rent even after you’ve moved out.

Assured Shorthold Tenancies – the most common kind of tenancy – are either fixed or periodic. If yours is periodic (rolling weekly or monthly), ending it is simple; you can terminate at any time by giving the landlord one month’s notice.

If it’s a fixed tenancy agreement that includes a break clause, you can end your tenancy early if you give your landlord notice. If it does not include a break clause, you will have to continue to pay rent until the date stated in your original contract. In this case, it’s only necessary to give notice if outlined in the contract. Otherwise, it’s enough to move out on the last day of your tenancy and return the key to the landlord or letting agent.

man holding a brown cardboard box

What happens after I end my tenancy?

Around two weeks before your move out date, your landlord should inform you of your responsibilities. This will also be laid out in your tenancy agreement.

It’s your responsibility to clean the apartment, whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional cleaner. If it’s not up to scratch, the landlord is entitled to use your deposit to pay a cleaning company to do the job.

We also recommend you check everything is running smoothly:

  • Check lightbulbs are working
  • That doors open and close
  • Defrost the freezer and remove all food and litter from the house.
  • Let your internet/TV service providers know that you’re moving
  • Ask your local Post Office for your post to be redirected
  • Make sure all utility bills are paid in full

What final checks do I need to make before I leave my rental property?

At the end of your tenancy, the landlord will conduct a check-out inspection to double check that the property has been returned in tip top condition – or at least the same condition as when it was handed over, allowing for a bit of wear and tear. We recommend you attend the checkout, because how much of your deposit you get back is dependent on whether these expectations are met.

The landlord (or a check-in professional) will check the property against its inventory, a list of items in the house and their condition. You should’ve been given a copy when you moved in, but if you don’t have one you can request it from your landlord. Before the check-out it’s worth checking through the inventory to see that all items are present and in an acceptable condition.

person taping up a brown cardboard box

How do I get my tenancy deposit back?

After the check-out inspection, your landlord will let you know if they want to make deductions from your deposit. If they don’t, you can email to ask for the full amount back. Your deposit should be returned in a week or two.

However, if there are issues and the landlord wants to deduct money from your deposit, there are three routes you can take: accept their deduction, reject it and appeal or come to a mutual agreement.

If you feel that the deductions are unreasonable, you can ask for reasons and additional information, such as a quote from the cleaning service to see what it cost and whether the numbers match up. It’s a good idea to get these in writing, so that you can use them if you decide to appeal further down the line. If, after this, you accept the terms or come to an agreement, this should be put in writing and your reduced deposit will be refunded.

If you choose to dispute your landlord’s deduction, your tenancy deposit protection scheme offers a free dispute resolution service, but both you and your landlord will have to agree to this. The decision will be final, so make sure you have a valid case and evidence before going down this route.

The to-do list when moving out of a rental property can feel endless, but following the steps and advice outlined above should help the process run as smoothly as possible.

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