When you move out

Moving can be difficult and stressful. It’s easy to lose track of all the things you need to be doing. Here’s a checklist of things you should do when you’re moving out to make sure you get your security deposit back:

  1. Compare your home to the list of problems and damage you made when you moved in. Look at the pictures you took. If there are any damages beyond normal wear and tear it might be cheaper for you to fix them yourself before you move out.
  2. Leave the property reasonably clean. Cleaning costs are something that come up a lot when people move out, and it’s better to avoid that problem if you can. You don’t need to scrub the house from top to bottom, but you should:
    • Remove all of your things
    • Wipe clean surfaces like countertops and stoves
    • Sweep up anything on the floor
  3. Don’t leave trash or items you don’t want any more in or around the property – your landlord will need to have these things removed, and can take that cost out of your security deposit. If you leave things on the curb free for the taking, and they are still there when you move out, your landlord may have to get rid of them, and they can take the cost of doing that out of your deposit.
    • As you are moving out, it’s still ok to leave your regular trash in the trash can or other area for tenant trash collection, like you normally would.
  4. Take pictures or videos of the property after you have moved all of your things out, and have cleaned. These pictures will help you show the condition you left the property in when you moved out. Keep these pictures until you get your security deposit back.
  5. Make sure you give your landlord the address you will be moving to, or another address where you regularly get your mail. Your landlord will send your security deposit, or letter explaining why they are keeping all or part of your security deposit, to your ‘last known address.’
    • Another way to do this is by having your mail forwarded. This way, if your landlord sends the deposit or letter to your old address, it will be passed along to your new address. You can set up mail forwarding through the U.S. Postal Service website.


Published: August 2016

PTLA #633