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UK Government Guides
If you are moving house soon make sure you’re ready to leave your current property, and prepared for the next one. Read our top tips below:
At least 2 days before moving out you should contact your energy and broadband providers to let them know that you are leaving. On the day you move, take a final meter reading and if you can, take a photo of this for your records. You should also give these details to your landlord and leave a forwarding address for any final bills to be sent to. If you’re in credit (you have paid too much) with your utility company when you leave, your utility company will arrange for you to receive a refund either by cheque or direct debit. If you’re in debit (you have underpaid your utilities), you will need to arrange to make the final payment.
If you and your landlord dispute any damage or disrepair and your dispute goes to an independent adjudicator for review, your photos and inventory will be crucial. Try to make sure one of the tenants is available for a final check out with the landlord.
Make sure to have a good clear out of anything you don’t need and take with you anything useful. There are several charity shops in Southampton where you can donate good quality used items – phone ahead before you visit to make sure they’re currently accepting donations. You can also take unwanted items that can’t be recycled to Southampton Recycling Centre, or sell/donate them via online marketplaces like Facebook and Olio.
If your property has a garden, there’s likely to be a clause in your contract which requires you to maintain that garden. It may ask you to keep the garden tidy, remove weeds and trim back hedges and bushes. Be sure to take photos of your work to include in your inventory so if any dispute with your landlord should occur, you have evidence.
It’s easy to forget to clean the insides of appliances, but your landlord won’t forget to look and take money from deposit if they’re not to the same standard as when you move in. Give them a good clean and take photos. Dispose of any food that you don’t plan to take with you, and if it’s in date you could donate it to a local food bank.
There may be an agreement in your contract for one of your housemates to be the lead tenant. If this is the case, your landlord may pay all the deposit due to be returned to that housemate, and they will need to split the payment between the housemates. Keep in contact with your housemates to ensure any payments owing to you are paid promptly. Read our How to get Your Deposit Back guide for advice on this.
Make sure to leave your landlord your new address in case any mail continues to be delivered to your old address. Your landlord will be able to re-direct any bills or other post to your new address.
Our advice listed above gives you an overview of the most common things a person will need to do when leaving their rented property. Check your contract to see if there are any specific arrangements that you have previously agreed to before you leave.
If you’ve just moved into a private rented property, check you have all the relevant paperwork for your house, including a tenancy agreement.
Remember, you are still responsible for the property over Summer even if you are not living there. If the house is likely to be unoccupied for a period of time, you must let your landlord or agent know in writing.
Make sure you also go through these steps:
Creating an inventory when you begin and end a tenancy is one of the single most important things you can do to protect your deposit. Take photos of everything! Under your mattress, inside your wardrobe, the front and back garden, behind your fridge and everything in between. At the end of your tenancy, if your landlord suggests you’ve caused damage and you disagree, your photos should show the damage or disrepair was present when you moved in. This process will take time, but it’s worth it. Once you have them, send them to your agency or landlord so they have a record too. See our Housing Inventories guide for more information.
Phone the utility companies and arrange for them to be transferred to you and your housemates. Before you do this, have an arrangement in place as to who is responsible for what bills and how you will pay. Try to avoid having one person’s name attached to a bill and instead ask for everyone’s name to be added. That way, one person isn’t solely responsible if bills go unpaid. Having all of this organised and agreed on will help you to live harmoniously with your housemates. Check out more useful guidance at Save the Students’ website.
If anything isn’t working as it should, inform your agent or landlord immediately and if you have phoned them, follow this up with something in writing so you have a record of the conversation.
As well as taking photos and adding this to your inventory, make sure you inform your landlord or agent immediately of any disrepair. Do this in writing (an email is fine) so you have a record of the conversation. They may need to arrange for the issue to be fixed but you don’t want to be held responsible for damage that already existed.
There are essential and contractual responsibilities that come with sharing a property. These include tasks like hoovering, washing up, cleaning the bathroom and taking the bins out! Try to have these tasks agreed & assigned early on so there is a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities.