10 Things To Do Before Moving Out

10 Things To Do Before Moving Out

You're getting ready to move out of your apartment, but don't really know where to start. As a renter, you have to go over specific steps to ensure you get your full security deposit back. On top of that, you want to conclude your tenancy on a positive note. 

However, it's easy to miss something when you're moving (it's a pretty hectic process in itself)! Don't worry- we got you. 

We're going to go over everything you need to do as a tenant before and after you move. This move-out checklist will take the thinking out of the entire process. 😉 

Why would tenants need move-out instructions?

So, how exactly are move-out instructions for tenants useful? Seems a little like you just signed up for a class you didn't ask for. 😅

Firstly, we have to tackle the security deposit debacle. Most renters pay the equivalent of a month's rent (or more) in deposits. That's a whole lot of money we don't want you to lose. 

The way you prepare your rental unit will determine how much of that security deposit you get back. This follows through to after you move out. The landlord gives their final inspection after you leave. 

We made this checklist so that you don't forget anything when preparing for your move. Following all these precautions will ensure that your move goes seamlessly. 

On top of that, it'll get you in the landlord's good graces. If you need a reference from them in the future, they'll be more willing to give you one. It's a win-win situation all around! 🥳️

Moving-out tips for tenants

Tip 1: Give a proper Tenancy Termination Notice 

This is probably the most important step. You have to give your landlord proper move-out notice. Typically, notices are given at least 30 days in advance. 

I have lived in a building that required the notice to be handed in 90 days before the move-out date. Always double-check your lease agreement to see what it says! 

Many buildings ask for this notice in the form of a letter. Others make you fill out a Tenancy Termination Form. I got the privilege of having to do both. 😂

Regardless, communicate with your landlord so that you don't miss anything!

Tip 2: Confirm your move-out date with your landlord

Along with a notice, you'll want to confirm what day you’ll be moving out. Your landlord needs to know these details to arrange accommodations. That includes reserving an elevator or blocking off street space. 

Give your official move-out date at least a week in advance. They'll have to fit you into their schedule, so make sure you're not leaving this for the night before! 😆

Tip 3: Do a final inspection with your landlord

Let's get that security deposit back in full! Scheduling a final walkthrough with your landlord can be super useful. 

They'll point out if any additional things need some fixing up or attention. Go over the normal wear-and-tear the apartment endured to see if there are deductions. 

Also, don't forget to discuss anything that was previously damaged when you got the unit! 

Tip 4: Fix up any damage 

Quick- tell us the easiest way to lose your security deposit. Well, leaving your apartment with damages is it! 

On move-out day, your home should be in pristine condition. We would even go as far as say it should be move-in ready for the next tenant. 😆

Your landlord is going to inspect every little inch of your place once you leave. Make sure that all appliances are functioning, no holes are in the walls or scuff marks on the floors. You should be golden if you do all these things!

Tip 5: Clean your home

This is an easy one. Deep clean all the rooms and appliances throughout the apartment. You'll want to leave everything neat and tidy. 

Tip 6: Update your renters insurance

Many people wonder if they can move their renters insurance policy. Yes- it's actually pretty simple! 

You can give your insurance provider a call, and they'll (usually) make the change. Just have your move-in date, new address, and the landlord's contact information ready. 😊

Tip 7: Remove all belongings and garbage

Make sure you’re not leaving ANY of your belongings or garbage in your apartment. It’s an easy way to get your deposit deducted. This is especially true if you leave larger items or furniture as many landlords get people to remove it. Since the entire process involves hiring someone, you’ll get the bill at the end of the day. 😢

Tip 8: Get your security deposit back

In a perfect world, you’d get your security deposit the minute you moved out. That’s not how things work though. Make sure to give your landlord the right forwarding address and contact information to get your security deposit back. If you don’t give them an address and they can’t get a hold of you, you can kiss all that money goodbye. 

Tip 9: Change your home address

Chances are you've got bills or documents tied to your current address. And should we even get started on those monthly Amazon packages? It would be a shame to be expecting a package, only to realize it's headed to the wrong address. 😝 

About a week before your move, change or register your new address. It'll also help to make a list of all the places you need to contact. 

Tip 10: Cancel your utilities

For most people, you'd have paid at least one utility during your tenancy. If you're remaining in the city, you may be able to transfer your account. 

However, if you're moving further away, you'll have to cancel them entirely. 

In the same train of thought, be sure to set up your utilities in your new home. It would be a shame to realize you don't have the electricity set up upon moving in. 😅

Common things landlords check after you move out 

  • Appliances. Are all the appliances working? Landlords will check the fridge, freezer, microwave, oven, dishwasher, washing machine, and stove. Also, don't forget to also clean everything! 
  • Floors. Landlords are going to inspect the floors for any dirt or grime. Make sure there are no visible scuff marks. If you live in a city where it snows, be weary of salt stains on the floor. And, if you have carpet, remove any stains and vacuum.
  • Walls. Cover up all those nail holes. Be sure to fill any other holes and paint over any damage. The walls should be clean and free of markings. 
  • Garbage. Don't leave ANY garbage anywhere. In some cases, landlords will deduct your security deposit if you do. 
  • Closets. All the closets should be completely emptied and cleaned out. 
  • Windows. Ensure that the windows don't have any cracks. If the windows have built-in blinds, make sure everything is in order and working properly. Clean the glass and wipe everything down. Don't forget to remove any of your curtains and rods! 
  • Lights. All the lights should be working as normal. Replace any light bulbs if they're burnt out! 
  • Sink. This includes all the sinks within the unit. Give them a good scrub, and double-check that they're unstained and clog-free. 
  • Bathtub/Shower. Similar to the sinks, make sure it's unclogged. Leave the shower clean and disinfected. 
  • Toilet. Clean and disinfect the toilet. 
  • Air Vents & Ceiling Fans. Give everything a good dusting. Wipe them down with a cloth to get rid of any additional debris.
  • Odors. For the avid cooks, pet owners, or smokers- make sure your apartment doesn't have any lingering smells. If you have a hard time getting rid of a smell, you should try washing your walls. You'd be surprised how much scent gets stuck to them. 
  • Keys or Key Fobs. Don't forget to leave all your keys or fobs (that includes garage, storage locker, mail, etc). Either return them directly to your landlord or leave them in a very visible place (and take a picture)

Tenant move-out checklist: What landlords check when tenants move out


Here's a quick summary of what we talked about. When moving out, start by giving a Tenancy Termination Notice. Tell your landlord what day you plan to move out. Clean your apartment and fix up any damage. Once that's done, schedule an inspection with your landlord. Don't forget to update your renters insurance, cancel utilities, and change your address. Lastly, remove ALL your belongings and garbage. At the end of it all, collect your security deposit from your landlord! 


There you have it! These are some tips and tricks you can do as a tenant when moving out of your apartment. We hope you can put them to good use! 😊

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Our team at Lighthouse is making it our goal to reimagine the rental market. We offer a cash back service to renters who sign a new lease. The best part is that you don't have to find a new rental all on your own! Our Lightkeeping team will help you with your rental search, free of charge! Check out our website here! 🥳️

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