Move Out Checklist Essentials

When it comes time to move out of a rental property, there are a number of factors you need to consider. From performing a final inspection to collecting your security deposit, there’s no shortage of things in the final days before a move. One of the responsibilities you will have to face right now is a moving checklist. To make your move easier, we’ve put together answers to all of your moving checklist questions.

What is a moving checklist?

A moving checklist is a form that the tenant and landlord can use when the tenant moves. This checklist ensures that both parties agree to the property’s condition against the move-in checklist.

Depending on your condition and your landlord, the checklist can record the condition of every aspect of the property. It can also be a list of things you need to do before you move. Either way, a moving checklist is one of your last interactions with a landlord and an opportunity to leave a good impression on them – and perhaps leave yourself a great reference. It is also the best way to ensure that you get most or all of your security deposit back.

Benefits of a moving checklist

Moving checklists have many benefits for both landlord and tenant. First, a checklist provides both parties with clear expectations about their responsibilities during the moving process. It tells the tenant what to do before leaving the property and how and when to collect their deposit.

Second, a checklist keeps the tenant on track to move with as little hassle as possible by giving them step-by-step directions to comply with both landlord and state procedures. This way the tenant and landlord can also use a moving checklist as written documentation in the event of a dispute.

Finally, a moving checklist perfectly sums up your relationship with your landlord. By presenting the process of your final business interactions, moving checklists can help reduce stress levels and ensure that both parties have their needs met.

Moving checklist

We’ve compiled the most essential moving checklists to help you prepare for your final visit with your landlord. Take each item one by one to make sure you complete each task. If your rental unit has more than one bedroom or bathroom, repeat these sections as many times as necessary.

Bedrooms and living spaces

  • Vacuum all carpets
  • Clean carpet stains. Note that some homeowners may expect you to use a professional carpet cleaner. Make sure you organize this in advance and factor the cost into your moving budget.
  • Clean all tiles or hardwood floors
  • Make any necessary repairs to the floor, such as taking care of ripped carpet and broken tiles. Check with your landlord if you are unsure of what to fix.
  • Wash walls, especially in areas around radiators and vents
  • Dust wedges for cobwebs
  • Wipe down the light switch plates
  • Remove all mounted decor and any nails, screws or hooks
  • Fill all holes with spackle, then sand the area gently
  • Repaint any walls or specific areas that need it
  • Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Clean windows inside and out
  • Clean window marks
  • Wipe the blinds
  • Repair broken windows, screens or shades


  • Repair any device you may have damaged
  • Clean the sink and waste disposal
  • Clean the drain
  • Wipe down cabinets and counters
  • Clean the pantry
  • Clean the inside and outside of the microwave
  • Wipe out the stove. Be sure to clean the exhaust fan and under the drip pans
  • Clean the oven. Some ovens have a self-cleaning function. You can also buy oven cleaner at hardware stores.
  • Clean the inside, bottom and back of the refrigerator
  • Clean the dishwasher – remember to get inside and around the door


  • Clean and disinfect the bath, shower, sink and toilet
  • Check that the toilet is working
  • Get rid of any mold or mildew
  • Wipe down counters and mirrors
  • Clean drawers and cabinets
  • Clean the grout
  • Re-caulk if necessary
  • Clean the exhaust fan


  • Clean the exterior of windows
  • Wipe down all doors, frames and buttons
  • Make sure all windows are working properly
  • Make sure all doors are working properly
  • Check that all locks are working
  • Remove all personal effects or outdoor furniture from the yard, patio or balcony
  • Clean all decks, balconies or terraces


  • Check that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and replace the batteries
  • Replace broken or burnt out bulbs
  • Taking out the trash

Additional tips

In addition to completing your moving checklist, there are several other things you should be aware of that you will need to stay on top of:

  • Research your rental conditions. This is especially important if your landlord does not provide you with a moving checklist.
  • Remember to notify your landlord in advance of your moving date. Check the laws in your state to find out what time you should start this conversation.
  • Notify utility companies when your lease expires, including electricity, water, gas, telephone, and internet providers. You can also take this time to activate utilities in your next rental.
  • If you can, request time off for the move. A little extra time to clean up your old property and move into your new apartment or home can go a long way.
  • Change your address with your bank, credit card companies, employer, credit providers, and anyone else who will need to reach you. You can also request to have your mail forwarded to catch anything you might have missed.
  • Cancel or update your tenant insurance
  • Return all keys and parking permits to the rental property. Ask your landlord about the desired protocol.

Moving checklists can be a great help in streamlining your moving process and leaving your rental property in top condition. If your landlord doesn’t provide you with a checklist, consider creating one yourself with the information provided here.

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