Preparing to Move Out of a Rental Home

If the time comes for you to vacate a rental home, prepare to do it the right way.
Consult your lease agreement first to see what your landlord expects. Then follow the steps below
to make sure you return your rental to the condition as close as possible to the way you found it originally.

Giving notice

Check your lease to see how your landlord would like you to give notice. It is often a requirement to put your
intentions in writing, as well as speak to your landlord in person or on the phone. On your written notice, be
sure to include the date you’ll be leaving and a forwarding address. You’ll need to arrange to return keys to your
landlord at the appropriate time.

Cleaning up your space

Though it may feel overwhelming — especially if you’re doing it on your own — cleaning your rental home can
best be done systematically, one step at a time.

The kitchen:

o The oven – Depending on how often you cleaned it, if at all, this can be the hardest of your
move-out chores. Use oven cleaner, following directions carefully. Use surface cleaner on
the stove, paying special attention to burners.
o The refrigerator – Wash bins with hot, soapy water. Use vinegar or a surface cleaner on shelves and doors.
o Shelves and pantry – Remove all food and wash or remove shelf paper.
o Floor – Sweep and mop.

The bathroom:

o Wash tile and tub with an appropriate cleaner or a combination of baking soda and vinegar.
o Wipe counters and cabinets with a surface cleaner. Scrub sink with scouring powder or baking soda and vinegar.
o Clean toilet bowl with an appropriate cleanser, and brush and wipe down the outside surfaces.
o Sweep and mop floor.

All rooms:

o Remove all nails, tacks and hooks from walls and doors. Spackle any holes.
o Remove stains from carpet with spot-cleaner or a rented steam cleaner.
Vacuum all floors, and mop tile or linoleum.
o Clear closets, cupboards and drawers, and wipe down surfaces.
o Wipe blinds or shades.
o Wipe down ceiling fans.

Hiring a cleaning service

When you’ve taken a look at the list above, you may decide it’s worth it to hire a cleaning service.
The cost for professional help likely will not exceed what you would get back in a deposit. It may be
worth the money to end your stay on glowing terms with your landlord — without having to lift a finger!
(You may need a referral, after all.)

Shutting off utilities

Set a cut-off date for the utilities so that you don’t end up paying for the next resident’s power or cable.
You might want to set the shut-off for the day after your move, just in case.
Preparing to move out of a rental house can be daunting. Follow the steps above and you’ll soon be
on your way to your next home, knowing you’ve left everything behind in good order. Keep in mind that
doing this successfully should help you get most, if not all, of your security deposit back.
The effort is definitely worthwhile!