Free Tenant Move Out Checklist Template

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. 

What is a Move Out Checklist?

Similar to a tenant welcome letter, a move out checklist is a straightforward form that outlines a landlord’s expectations and requirements for a tenant during the move out process. Every checklist is different, depending on the landlord and the property. However, the form should always be included in the original lease agreement so the tenant is aware of their obligations from the beginning.

The move out checklist usually specifies specific cleaning and tidying procedures that should be completed by the tenant before leaving. In addition, move out checklists contain expectations for the working quality of appliances and electronics included in the unit. The form should also explain what the procedure is for returning the keys to the property.

Why is  a Move-Out Checklist Important?

Both landlords and tenants benefit from taking the time to conduct a move-out inspection. Ensuring that the unit is in pristine condition for the next tenant and guaranteeing a full security deposit refund offers a great incentive for both parties to perform a thorough inspection.

For landlords, following a move-out checklist can reveal any significant damage that tenants caused during their occupancy. Inspecting a unit can also provide an accurate estimate of how long it’ll take until the landlord can consider the unit to be move-in ready.

Move-out Checklist: Living Spaces and Bedrooms

  • Walls – Walls should be free of any markings or damage. Holes left should be filled according to the lease agreement.
  • Floors – Hard flooring should be free of scratching or any deep grooves. Carpets shouldn’t be excessively stained or burned. Carpets should be vacuumed and hard floors should be swept and mopped.
  • Closets – Closets should be completely empty, dusted, and the floors cleaned.
  • Ceiling Fans and Central Air Vents – These need to be dusted and wiped down with a wet cloth.
  • Windows – Windows shouldn’t have any cracks. They should be washed from the inside with a glass cleaner. Curtains should be removed. Blinds, typically provided by the landlord, should be wiped clean between each blade to remove dust and debris.

Move-out Checklist: Kitchen

  • Repair appliances you may have damaged
  • Clear any clogged drains
  • Clean sink and all countertops
  • Wipe cabinets in and out, as well as pantries and shelves
  • Clean inside and outside of microwave, including the filter underneath
  • Thoroughly clean stove and oven – remove drip pans to clean bottom surface
  • Wipe inside, underneath and behind refrigerator
  • Clean out dishwasher, including around and inside the door
  • Run ice cubes, salt and cold water through the garbage disposal to clean out remnants of food
  • Remove grease, dust and dirt from the exhaust fan and overhead light

Move-out Checklist: Bathroom

  • Toilet – Should be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Shower/Bathtub – Showers and bathtubs should be clear of personal items and shower curtains. The tenant or landlord should clean and disinfect them.
  • Sink – The sink should be unstained and free of personal effects. It should be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Floors – People need to sweep and mop the floors.
  • Mirrors – Mirrors should be wiped down with a glass cleaner and be free of cracks. If the mirror also acts as a medicine cabinet, it should be empty.
  • Windows – Landlords or tenants should clean windows with a glass cleaner from the inside.

Note: Mold is a common issue in bathrooms, as it’s a moist environment. If the problem is extensive, an expert should perform mold removal. Landlords or tenants should check the bathroom fan regularly to ensure that it’s working. That’ll greatly reduce the chances of a mold problem.

8 tips for landlords and tenants when moving in and moving out

  1. Take before and after photos to document the condition of the property. These photos will serve as proof when determining whether or not something was damaged.
  2. Tenants should let the landlord know as soon as something breaks or becomes damaged. Landlords aren’t big fans of unwelcome surprises. So it’s always best to be open and honest about any damage that occurs to the property.
  3. Tenants should read over their lease carefully to find details on who pays for what (tenant’s responsibilities vs. landlord’s responsibilities) when something breaks or becomes damaged at the property. Keep in mind that though a property should be returned to the landlord in the same general condition that it was in when the tenant initially moved in, the tenant is not typically responsible for “general wear and tear.” It’s not cause by abuse from the tenant. This might include those paint chips on the stairwell bannister, rotting wood on the porch or dirty grout surrounding the bathroom tiles.
  4. Tenants should check with their landlord (and consult the existing lease) before making changes to the property such as painting or wallpapering a room. Oftentimes, a landlord will allow a renter to paint a room as long as the tenant paints it back to its original color before moving out.
  5. Don’t forget to check for pre-existing bug and pest problems. The tenant and landlord should make sure to walk around the interior and exterior of the home to check for damage caused by pests. If there is evidence of a problem, the landlord should contact a pest control service as soon as possible.
  6. Tenants should give the property a thorough cleaning upon moving in and out. Not only will this make the home more livable once they move in, but it will also increase the likelihood of receiving their security deposit back in-full.
  7. Landlords should find a reliable handyman to help with necessary repairs and maintenance of the property. From broken dishwashers to hanging wall art, having a handyman on standby will help keep your property in tip-top shape. It will also make it easier to find (and keep) tenants.
  8. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be properly installed throughout the home. It’s up to both the landlord and the tenant to ensure that batteries are replaced and that all devices are working correctly. When installing carbon monoxide detectors, we recommend having at least one on each level of the home. 

These resources are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.

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