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Tenant guide to moving out, fair wear and tear and getting a deposit back

By Fi Walkley

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Moving out of your rental property? Our advice: leave it as you found it! Essentially, you are responsible for leaving the property in the same condition as when you moved in, save for fair wear and tear. If you were given an inventory check-in document at the start of your tenancy, please re-read as this will help you to understand the original condition of the property and the standard of cleaning required.

Landlords accept that there will be an element of fair wear and tear during any normal residential tenancy. However, if it's anything more than a reasonable amount, you could see deductions from your deposit. It is worth you spending the time bringing the property back to the same standard as specified in the inventory check-in. Please follow these guidelines to make moving out as simple as possible!

1. Refresh your memory

Have a read through your inventory check-in report and refresh your memory about the condition of the property when you first moved in. Tenants renting through Foxtons can find their inventory check-in report under the 'Documents' tab in My Foxtons. Alternatively, you can ask your landlord for a copy.

2. Rearrange

Be sure to return all items of furniture to the original room if they have been moved around – the inventory check-in report will also help with this if you can't remember. This helps to avoid claims for missing items that are simply in a different room.

3. Clean up

All areas of the property need to be cleaned to the same standard they were in when you first moved in. Don’t forget the oven, fridge freezer (get defrosting) and windows – these are the areas most likely to be forgotten!

Moving house is stressful enough, so consider calling in the professionals for an end of tenancy cleaning service. Ideally, arrange an overlap between your new and old tenancy of a day or two. That way you can get your possessions moved out, the cleaners called in, and minimise your stress.

4. Lightbulb moment

If bulbs in light sockets were in full working order when you moved in, they also need to be present and working when you move out. The property can't be easily inspected if it can't be clearly seen!

5. The great outdoors

Any outdoor space you are responsible for, like a garden or terrace, also needs to look like it did when you moved in. Be sure to mow the lawns, trim shrubs appropriately and remove waste, etc. If you're not naturally green-fingered, consider hiring a professional to do it for you.

6. Unwanted items

Don’t just leave unwanted items behind, as you might be charged the cost of disposal. Check the original inventory check-in report to be sure what needs to stay in the property, and arrange to pack and move, or dispose, of anything you own. You could try selling these on Gumtree, or donate them to local charities that will collect items that are in good condition.

7. Off the wall

Minor scuffs or marks could count as fair wear and tear. However, if you have been hanging pictures or TVs on the walls, affixing brackets or inadvertently creating holes, then you are responsible for returning the walls back to their original condition.

8. Break the mould

Mould in the bathrooms is usually due to condensation. There are lots of mould cleaning products available for a DIY clean up!

9. Key change

All sets of keys need to be returned to your landlord or estate agent's office, including any security passes or security fobs. These can be expensive (and difficult) to replace, so don’t pack them by accident! Be sure to return keys on the last day of your tenancy – any later and you could be liable to keep paying rent.

10. Utilities

Use the checklist below to make sure all your utilities are taken care of:

  • Take a photo of the meters as you walk out the door. Contact the utility companies to give them your final readings and pay any balance owing
  • Close your council tax account and pay any balance owing
  • Notify TV Licensing about your change of address
  • Re-direct your post with Royal Mail

And finally, do chat to your landlord before moving out if you think there might be any issues – it can be much easier to reach a compromise in advance!

Please go to your My Foxtons account if you would like us to organise an end of tenancy clean:

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