Give or receive notice and confirm the tenancy end date. Regardless of who is ending the tenancy, the date on which the tenancy is to end should always be confirmed in writing.
Generally, the required notice period to end a tenancy depends on the type of tenancy and when and why the tenancy is coming to an end. Some of these details will likely be contained in your Tenancy agreement.
If your landlord is asking you to leave the property, the date by which you are being asked to leave the property will typically be set out in an Eviction notice. Make sure your landlord gives you sufficient notice. Read the Tenants' rights checklist for use when being evicted using section 21 (Form 6A) to find out more.
If you (ie the tenant) are ending the tenancy, you will have to let the landlord know when you plan to move out. Make sure you follow any notice periods set out in your tenancy agreement. Ensure that you provide written notice of when and why you are leaving the property.
Always confirm the last date of your tenancy in writing, for example, in a written letter or an email.
Make sure not to abandon the property. If you leave the property early without giving notice (ie you abandon the property), your landlord is entitled to continue charging rent. They can apply for a court order to make you pay back what you owe.
If you need to leave your rental property early, it’s best to speak to your landlord and come to an agreement (ie so that you ‘surrender’ your tenancy). They may, for example, be willing to end your tenancy early provided you find a replacement tenant.
|Check whether your deposit was protected. Landlords are required to protect your tenancy deposit in a government-authorised deposit protection scheme. Check whether your deposit was protected during your tenancy. If it wasn’t, your landlord may be subject to certain penalties.
Plan and organise your move. To make it simpler for you to move your belongings and clean your former home, attempt to arrange for your tenancies to overlap. As soon as you know when you're moving, schedule your last inspection with your landlord and begin planning how you will move your property (eg doing it yourself or using a removal service).
Remove your belongings from the property. Make plans to remove all of your possessions from the property before the end of your tenancy. Buying packing materials or arranging a moving service may be a part of this.
Any of your belongings left in the property after the tenancy comes to an end may be sold by your landlord provided they follow a strict procedure.
Make sure that all of the landlord’s property, including any operational instructions or manuals (eg oven manuals), remains in the property.
Thoroughly clean the property before moving out. You must return the property to your landlord in roughly the same condition it was in when you first moved in. Your tenancy agreement may contain specific terms setting out the exact standards of cleanliness and repair that are required.
You can choose to clean the property yourself, hire a cleaner, or make cleaning arrangements with the landlord (eg by agreeing to them hiring a professional cleaner and taking the costs out of your deposit).
Make an appointment for an end-of-tenancy property inspection with the landlord. Your landlord will want to inspect the property to assess its condition to determine whether any repairs and/or maintenance works need to be done.
Carry out an end-of-tenancy inspection. Inspect the property with your landlord and discuss any issues that need to be addressed before you move out.
Compare the condition of the property (and any fixtures and furnishings) against the original Inventory to check for any damage that happened during your stay in the property. Things that will be considered include:
Ideally, you should take photos during the inspection so that, if any problems show up, you have evidence of the state of the property.
Note that landlords may wish to carry out a first inspection a couple of weeks before you move out in case of the need for any repairs. They can then carry out a second inspection to make sure that necessary repairs were fixed before you move out.
This type of inspection helps landlords and tenants alike, as tenants may identify what they need to do to receive their deposits back in full, whilst landlords are able to quickly identify any issues needing attention.
If the property is not in satisfactory condition after the first inspection, you can ask your landlord for an opportunity to fix the issues. If your landlord is unhappy with the state of the property (eg its cleanliness level), ask them for an opportunity to resolve the issues. This may save you and your landlord time and effort.
Be aware that the landlord can request another inspection after you move out. This will help you see whether there is anything else that needs to be fixed before the next tenancy starts.
Make a handover appointment with your landlord. This will allow you to hand over the keys and, if possible, to agree on how much of the deposit will be returned and within what time frame.
Depending on when you move, make sure the property isn’t too cold. If you move out between October and May, you should leave the central heating thermostat set to 16 degrees on a constant setting. This ensures the property stays in good condition while unoccupied. Let your landlord know that you’ve done this.
Once your tenancy has ended you’re generally no longer responsible for utility bills, so you shouldn’t be responsible for the costs of leaving central heating on.
You should also make sure to turn off any electric immersion water heaters.
Get ready to return your keys. You will need to return all of the keys that were given to you when you officially leave the property. Find all keys (including any gate, garage, window, shed and/or alarm fobs), identify them clearly, and return them at check-out. Any keys you lose during your tenancy may incur a replacement fee from your landlord.
Request the return of your deposit. At the end of your tenancy, once you and your landlord have agreed on how much of your deposit you’ll get back, your landlord has 10 days to return the deposit. A landlord can make reasonable deductions if they have a good reason for doing so. For example, if a tenant:
Bear in mind that ‘fair wear and tear’ (ie damage brought on by continuous use over the course of a tenancy that gradually deteriorates aspects of a rental property) is allowed. For example, reasonably worn carpets or gradual fading of paint. Landlords cannot deduct from a deposit to cover fair wear and tear resulting from normal use.
If there is a dispute, you can file a case with the relevant tenancy deposit scheme’s dispute resolution service. These services are designed to help you and your landlord resolve any issues regarding your deposit. You must ensure that you have any necessary evidence to support your claim.
For more information, read Deposit protection schemes.
Ensure that you’ve paid the rent and all applicable bills until your tenancy end date. As a tenant, you are legally liable for making all relevant payments (eg of utility bills and council tax) until the last day of your tenancy. If you fail to make these payments, a claim may be brought against you.
It is a good idea to ask your landlord to provide you with a final Rent receipt to act as proof of your final rent payment.
If applicable, cancel your standing order. If you pay your rent by standing order, notify your bank to cancel the standing order once the final rental payment has been completed. Your bank won't take any action unless you tell them to, and if you don't, they'll continue to make the payments.
Note that your landlord should only collect the rent you owe up to the day your tenancy ends. For example, you should only be charged half a month’s rent if your move-out date is halfway through a month. For more information, read Tenants' entitlement to rent repayments.
Inform your local council that you are moving. Provide your move-out date and new address to your local council. This will help ensure that you do not have to pay council tax for periods during which you are not living in the property you are moving out of.
Take final meter readings. Before moving out, take final gas, electricity, and water meter readings. Consider taking pictures of all the meter readings as a record (eg in case the landlord or any utility provider asks you for proof of final meter readings).
Ensure that you cancel all of your utility bills or transfer them to your new address. Make sure to only disconnect the services that are not maintained by the landlord (ie only disconnect the accounts that are held in your name).
You should also inform anyone who is in possession of your personal information about your new address. For example:
Use a Change of address letter to do this.
If you are a landlord who is navigating the end of a tenancy, follow the End of tenancy checklist for landlords.
Ask a lawyer if you have any questions or concerns.