A rental house move-out checklist

Written by chris newton
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A rental house move-out checklist
Clean the house thoroughly before you move out to save money. (Woman cleaning the house. image by maron from Fotolia.com)

A rental house move-out checklist can help ease any moving stress or uncertainties. The condition the house is left in will greatly affect the amount of the security deposit that is returned, so it is well worth the extra time to assure the house is left is the best condition possible.

Cleaning Common Areas

A rental house move-out cleaning checklist ensures all common areas, like the kitchen, garage, yard, as well as all house fixtures or appliances, are thoroughly inspected and cleaned. Start in the kitchen by cleaning or replacing dirty dripping pans, cleaning the inside and out of the refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher, drawers, cabinets, windows, tracks, floor base trim, door trim, walls and floors. In the bathroom, clean the bathtub, shower doors, tracks, toilet, sink, vanity, medicine cabinet, baseboard, base trim and the inside of drawers and closets. In the garage, all items must be removed and the walls and floor should be swept. The yard should be rid of belongings and debris and be mowed if it has become overgrown.

Cleaning Rooms

A good rule of thumb for cleaning any room is to start from the top and work down, making sure to clean all light fixtures, washing down all doors and vacuuming at the end. Clean closet doors and interiors as well. The carpet may need to be steamed cleaned, sometimes by a professional, depending on your lease details. Make sure each room in the house is completely free of trash and belongings.


Anything that has been cracked or broken must be replaced or fixed. This includes small items such as doorknobs, smoke detectors, mirrors, window screens, nail holes, and light and plug switches, as well as larger items such as kitchen appliances, new paint, doors or even flooring. Proactively fixing or replacing these items will maximise the amount of cash back from your security deposit. If you are unsure whether you are responsible for repairing an item in the house, check with your landlord. If the item is damaged due to general wear and tear, you might not be responsible for it.

Final Walk-Through

Schedule a final walk-through and inspection with your landlord. During the final walk-through, all door keys, mailbox keys, garage door openers and security cards must be returned in working condition. Be ready with all these items prior to the move out inspection and have a forwarding address handy for the landlord to mail the remaining security deposit check to. Checks are typically mailed within two weeks of the final walk-through, though it may take longer depending on your agreement. If possible, schedule the walk-through at least a few days prior to your move-out date to give you time to address anything that comes up during the walk-through.

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