Moving out of private rented accommodation
Moving out can be quite stressful and time-consuming but rushing it can lead to greater stress and cost later; if you do not clean properly, you risk your landlord deducting the cost of cleaning from your deposit. If you do not take the time to read the meters, you could face high bills and have no evidence to challenge them. Our tips below should help to ensure your move out goes as smoothly as possible and avoids unnecessary costs/charges. Many students have stayed in Cardiff and many returned home during the lockdown, so please see the section relevant to you.
First, you need to plan when you are going to move out and discuss this with your housemates. If you are all going to move out on different dates you need to know that the cleaning will not be left to the last person remaining and, if you all clean the property, the last person remaining will not mess it up.
Moving out at the end of your tenancy
When you have planned your move out date, you next need to establish what needs to be done:
- Arrange a group chat with all tenants and come to an agreement as to who will do what and when. As a starting point, the assumption is that you will all clean your own rooms but you will need to agree on shared areas.
- Go through your contract and check what it says about leaving the property. Most contracts state that you must leave the property in at least as good a condition as it was in when the tenancy started. Most also say that furniture needs to be in its original position and the property and garden clean and empty.
- If you live in a shared property and you are all named on the same contract, you will all be jointly and severally liable for any damage done and any cleaning not done. This means that the landlord can argue a deduction from everyone’s deposit and pursue all tenants equally. It is really important that you all work together as much as possible because one tenant can cause all to lose money.
- Make sure you all have each other’s forwarding addresses, in case there are any problems.
- In terms of condition, the next thing you will need to check is your inventory, if you have one. The inventory will be used by the landlord as evidence of the condition and cleanliness of the property when you moved in. If it says that everything was clean and there was no damage, you will need to leave it like that. If you don't, the landlord will have a strong case to argue deductions from your deposit or, if you did not have a deposit, pursue the tenants and the guarantors for the cost of making good.
- You are normally expected to leave a rental property 'professionally clean', which usually includes cleaning skirting boards, windows, windows sills, removing stains from grout in bathrooms and cleaning ovens and defrosting and cleaning fridge freezers. If you have evidence that the property was not clean when you moved in, you can use this as an argument not to clean as thoroughly on leaving.
- The last person in the property will need to read the meters when they leave and inform any companies you use that you have moved out. We recommend that you take photographs of these as proof. Some companies, such as broadband providers, may ask for notice to cancel a contract and you will be liable to pay during the notice period. You can avoid paying for services after the tenancy ends by making sure you give the required notice in advance.
- The last person in the property will also need to take detailed photographs of all cleaning done and the condition of the property and its contents when they left. This includes skirting boards, inside the oven/fridge/freezer, under beds, the walls in the hallway and anywhere else where the letting agent may try to say you haven’t cleaned. Send the photos to the others in your group immediately so you have a record of the time and date.
- Each tenant will need to return their key to the landlord or letting agent.
- If your contract says that you need to send proof of all the final bills being paid for the property, make sure this is done or your deposit return could be delayed.
- Individually, we recommend that you go through any mail you have received at this address and contact the companies to update your address. This is particularly important for any bank statements or confidential post as the new tenants are very unlikely to shred these, and these could be collected by fraudsters if left out in bin bags on the street. You might also want to delete the address off Amazon and eBay just in case you accidentally order post to your old house after you move out.
- Request a return of your deposit.
If you find later that the landlord does propose deductions from your deposit, you can raise a dispute and further information on how to do so is available on our Deposit Dispute webpage.
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410