Landlord’s Guide: Tenant Move Out Checklist

In the property business, move-outs are a fact of life.  Your renters will come and go. But, how they go often depends on you. One of the best things a landlord can do is to ensure a smooth process have a tenant move out checklist in place.

The lease has expired, and for whatever reason—a new job, a new addition to the family, etc., — your tenant has decided to not renew and move on. If you have a new tenant moving in, the unit has got to be in tip-top shape, often within a day or so of the move out. Elevators may need to be booked, keys must be collected, inspections and repairs all must be handled on a tight schedule.

It can be stressful and there can be a lot to keep track of during this transition. Here is a checklist to help keep everything clear and organized.

Tenant Move Out Checklist

Perform a Move-Out Inspection

Use a Property Inspections App Walk through the rental unit only once it is empty. Normal wear and tear is a part of business, but do document any deviations from the instructions on your move-out checklist, as well differences from the original move-in inspection to the current condition. List all damage in the report and take photos. These may be needed to settle any future disputes. Some landlords walk through the unit with the departing tenant, others prefer to do it alone without the tenant. (Sometimes, a landlord does not want to contend with questions like, “Does everything look okay?” or “I’m getting my deposit back, right?”) Landlords will sometimes wait a day or two after the tenant has moved out to perform the inspection so that any odours that were masked by sprays will emerge.

Check All Lease Details

The lease agreement will state how many days’ notice the tenant must give, any deposits and other key information. Has the tenant complied with the terms of the lease? Are there any fees or conditions if they have not complied? Review the lease thoroughly.

Manage Move Out/In Logistics

Managing a tenant move-out involves major coordination between the landlord, the tenant who is leaving, and, often, the new tenant. For seamless move-outs make sure your exiting tenant has a set move out date, as per the lease. Also, do you have a new address to which to send the deposit cheque? It’s always a good idea to get a forwarding address in case you need to contact them in the future.

Once you have the move-out date locked down, create your transition timeline to allow adequate time between the current renter and the occupancy date of the new resident. Allot time for any known repairs, painting and other touch-ups that may be required.

Communicate & Set Expectations

Sure, your tenant received your welcome package that had move-in and move-out instructions, but that was a long time ago. Send a move-out reminder 30 days before the expected move-out date, and thank them for their tenancy. Move-out instructions need to be clear and specific, outlining the tenant’s responsibility in terms of the expected condition of appliances, floors, hardware, walls, light bulbs, etc. Let them know they need to report any damage, and the date that door and keys or parking passes are expected to be returned/collected. Be sure to include a copy of the original move-in inspection, so they can easily refer to it.

In short, document everything the departing tenant needs to do for a successful departure and deposit refund. Everything you do now to get your current tenant aligned on the expected move-out condition of the unit will reduce any friction at the time of the inspection and diminish disputes over any deposit refund.

Get the Security Deposit in Order

Based on the inspection, you’ll be able to calculate any deductions from the security deposit. Be firm but fair. If you don’t have direct deposit, you will need an address to mail the cheque.

Repairs & Maintenance

Use the time in-between move out and move in wisely. Small repairs and periodic upgrades will ensure the value of your investment over the years to come.

How Property Vista Helps

With our easy-to-use tenant portal, property inspection app, maintenance requests and tracking (and many other features), online property management software makes it easy to streamline the move-out process. We have the solutions you need. To learn more, get started here.