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How To - Before Moving

Renters: Things to Do Before You Move Out

Before You Move Out

Moving is a chore, there is no doubt about it. Putting together a list of “must-do” tasks before moving is important, especially for renters. Aiming to leave the house or apartment in good shape is a given and can ensure that your security deposit is returned. Use the following checklist to help you remember all the things you need to do before you move out.

Clean, Clean, Clean

No doubt, leaving the place squeaky clean will go a long way toward making your landlord happy. Scrub the carpets, clean all of the kitchen appliances inside and out, dust the baseboards and window blinds, sweep the porch or patio and clean the windows. Yes, it is a lot of work, but much easier to do once the place is completely empty. If you are stressed with the move and getting your new place ready, you might hire a professional cleaner to handle this for you. Better still if you ask the landlord who they use and hire them!

Patching and Painting

If you have artwork on the walls, remove any fasteners and use a little spackle to patch the holes and touch up the paint if possible. If you have lived there for some time, chances are the landlord intends to repaint, and if that is the case, leaving him a smooth and spackled wall is helpful. On the other hand, if you’ve changed the wall colors and need to return them to their original blank slate, a pizza and painting party might be in order a few weeks before moving.

Lawn and Garden Tidying

If the great outdoors is your domain, and your responsibility, be sure to leave the grass mowed and pull any weeds. If your landlord incurs the expense of hiring a landscaper, expect it to be passed on to you.

Gather Keys

Be sure that you have all the keys to your place rounded up to return to the landlord. This includes any extras that you made for your mother or the neighbors.

Read Utility Meters and Arrange Transfers

Not so much for the landlord’s benefit, but your own, be sure to read and record the utility meter readings and inform the utility companies. You don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s heating or air conditioning bill. Even better than a meter reading, snap a photo with your smartphone and you’ll have a time-stamped image for proof.

Empty Everything Out

Sure, you might think it’s awesome if you leave that extra bed you don’t leave for the next tenant. However, your landlord might not think so, and charge you for the hassle of getting rid of it. Aim to leave the place totally empty; a roll of toilet paper and some light bulbs is plenty to leave behind. Sort through your things and pare down; sell or donate what you don’t need ahead of the move.


Take photos after everything is removed and the cleaning is done. If a dispute arises, you can document that you left the premises in good condition.

Arrange An Inspection

The best way to be sure that you have not missed anything important is to do a walk-through with your landlord. He will let you know anything he is unhappy about, and you will have a chance to correct it. Always ask if there is anything further you need to do to get your full deposit back.

Moving is a chaotic time, and it can be easy to overlook things if you don’t have a plan in place. One way to make things go a little smoother is to check out Unpakt, where you can compare movers, get guaranteed pricing, and even make use of our handy Box Guide.

About the author

Unpakt Team