A Checklist for Landlords With Tenants Moving Out

Image shows a woman painting a blue wall white and a man scrubbing a sink. There is paint, a mop bucket, and a broom scattered around the apartment. Text reads: "The tenant move-out checklist: clean all windows, clean/paint walls, sweep/vacuum the floors, clean the bathrooms and kitchen"

Image by Ellen Lindner © The Balance 2019

A checklist can help ease the stress of tenant move-out. It makes both sides aware of the expectations. Landlords can customize this checklist to meet the specific needs of their property. The items on this list should include the condition the rental property should be left in, as well as any additional move-out procedures and obligations. Your tenant should provide notice that they intend to move out of your rental unit. Most often this is in the form of a letter but you may specify it be delivered in another format in your lease. Check with your local landlord/tenant laws to see how much notice the tenant should give before they vacate a rental unit.

Move-Out Checklist

A tenant move-out checklist is a form that landlords should attach as a rider (also called an addendum) to the original lease agreement. This checklist provides instructions for the tenant on the procedures and the tasks they need to complete when they vacate your property.

Every landlord's move-out checklist can be different. Some like to break down detailed procedures by room, while others only provide general terms of what is expected.

Why It's Important

Move-out checklists are especially important when it comes to the security deposit. Security deposit disputes are a big issue between landlords and tenants. If the tenant understands the proper procedures for move-out, including the condition they are supposed to leave the rental property in, it will help minimize these issues. Following these instructions, and adhering to the terms of their lease, will help ensure the tenant receives their security deposit back in full.

Tailor your checklist to meet your own specific needs and the specific needs of your property. 

Sample Move-Out Checklist

  1. _____ Please call 3-5 days prior to your move-out to schedule your inspection
  2. _____ Apartment must be broom swept clean, mopped, and vacuumed
  3. _____ All kitchen(s) and bathroom(s) must be completely clean
  4. _____ All walls must be clean and painted the same color as before tenancy began (Unless Tenant has been given prior written permission from Landlord)
  5. _____ Vacuum and clean any/all carpet(s)
  6. _____ Clean all windows
  7. _____ Remove all of your personal possessions and belongings.
  8. _____ No trash shall be left behind; Do NOT leave garbage at the curb
  9. _____ If applicable, all exterior areas shall be cleaned of debris and left clean
  10. _____ If applicable, exterior lawn and landscaping shall be presentable
  11. _____ Leave all kitchen appliances, window treatments, phone jacks, etc.
  12. _____ All keys shall be returned at the inspection
  13. _____ All light fixtures are to work properly with working light bulbs
  14. _____ All electric is to work properly
  15. _____ All plumbing is to be free of any leaks or blockages
  16. _____ All heating is to be working properly
  17. _____ All smoke alarm(s) and carbon monoxide alarm(s) shall be working properly
  18. _____ Leave ALL utilities on until your move-out inspection has completed
  19. _____ Make landlord aware of any damage or issues inside the rental unit

All of the aforementioned items need to be done PRIOR to your move-out inspection so that you can RECEIVE YOUR FULL SECURITY DEPOSIT BACK (less any withholding from earlier tenancy). Any and all repairs, repainting, trash removal, cleaning, and/or any other expenses that are attributed to restoring your home to its condition prior to your tenancy will be deducted from your Security Deposit.

If additional money is needed to restore said home, Landlord will send Tenant a bill and/or file legal suit for said money in court. Your Security Deposit will be mailed within 30 days of your move-out inspection to the address you provide Landlord (if no new address is given, any remaining Security Deposit money will be mailed to the current mailing address and the Post Office will be responsible for forwarding any/all mail to your new listed address). Please also note the replace/repair cost(s) for items you leave in disarray.

Please remember to deliver your home in the same condition it was in prior to your tenancy. This will ensure YOU RECEIVE THE MOST MONEY POSSIBLE!

Good luck with your move.

Tenant(s) ________________________________ Date _________________________

Tenant(s) ________________________________ Date _________________________

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