Even if you’ve made the choice to move out imminently, you’re still responsible for paying your rent until the day your fixed-term tenancy ends.
Most commonly, you’ll need to give a certain amount of notice to your letting agent and/or landlord - usually one or two months.
You should do this in the correct way, so pay attention to what your tenancy contract says - how much notice do you need to give? And how should you notify the letting agent and/or landlord that you want to move out?
If you’re required to drop a hand-delivered letter to the letting agents’ office for example, then you should follow this guidance - perhaps backing up the hard copy of the letter with a written email to your agents afterwards. Some agents and landlords may just require a formal email to receive your official notice.
Ensure you include all the right details in your notice letter. So that should include the date of when your notice period begins, the property’s full address, your full details, and the date of your final day at the property.
However you’re giving your notice (by hand, email, post), always ask for written acknowledgement of your notice letter from your letting agent or landlord. It means that you have this as a record, should you need to prove that you served your notice, in future.
If you don’t give your notice in the correct way, it could be that you have to pay extra rent even after you’ve moved on, and likewise, you may become responsible for paying any bills (for example, council tax) beyond the day you physically move out.
If you’re unable to give the right amount of notice to the other party, it may be that you can get your landlord to agree to end the tenancy early. This is also known as ‘surrendering your tenancy’.
Your landlord or letting agent will confirm your official ‘moving out’ date, and will arrange a inventory check/property inspection with you (usually taking place on moving out day).
Soon after you serve your notice, your agent or landlord may also send you some guidance or a ‘checklist’ of what you need to do before you move out. This will typically include tasks like removing all rubbish bags and returning any items of furniture to their original places in the property.
You should also revisit your tenancy agreement paperwork to examine what is stated there regarding what should ‘officially’ be done by you, the tenant before you vacate the property for the last time.
A week or two in advance of leaving the property, you should contact all of your utility suppliers and let them know that you are moving out. This will allow you to start the process of obtaining a final bill from each of them. On your final day of living at the property, make sure you take photos of your meter readings as a record, and so you can supply accurate information to your gas, electric and water providers.
There will almost certainly be something in your agreement about leaving the property in a clean condition. Many tenancy contracts stipulate that professional cleaning is a requirement (hiring a third party to come and clean the property top-to-bottom, sometimes with carpets included), so make sure you know what is expected of you - and well in advance - so you have ample time to book any outside services, should you need them.
Once you’re ready to move out and your property is empty (and clean), take some photos as a record of its condition.
On your last day (or a day or two after you move out), you’ll meet a representative of the landlord (or the landlord in person, in some cases) for a final property inspection you’d prearranged with them weeks ago.
This is so they can check the property’s condition as well as the fixtures and fittings. If you’re currently renting a furnished property, the landlord’s visiting representative will make an assessment of these items too.
The result of these checks will dictate how much of your rental deposit is returned to you.