Checking out of your property

As you prepare to leave your Ethical Lettings property there are a few things you need to do. This page and its accompanying leaflet aim to provide handy checklists of these tasks and to explain our expectations of you, as your landlord.

We recommend that you ask your property manager at Ethical Lettings for a copy of our check-out leaflet as it provides a useful place for you to keep track of the check-out steps you’ve completed, the dates you completed these tasks and other useful tips which will help you navigate the moving process. You can also download a copy to print out.

Moving can be a stressful time and we hope this page helps you keep on top of all the actions you need to take and avoid issues arising, but if you have any questions or concerns the team are more than happy to help.

Get in touch

Office number: 01483 429157
Text: 07803 485185
WhatsApp: 07803 485185

Before you check out, make sure the property is clean and in good condition, bring your rent up to date and return the keys. Use both checklists on this page to make sure you have done everything to the right standard and haven’t forgotten anything important. If anything on the checklists is unclear, or you are concerned about anything, contact us and we’ll do our best to answer your questions and help you find a solution.

Once you have returned all keys to Ethical Lettings, we’ll arrange for an independent inventory clerk to visit the property and carry out a check-out inspection. They will compare the check-in inventory that was created when you moved into the property with the condition of the property you’ve handed over, and they’ll make a check-out inventory report. This will be given to us and to the landlord.

The check-out report will list any maintenance that the landlord needs to carry out as well as any damage they feel exceeds a fair amount of wear and tear. If so, you could be asked to pay for this damage to be repaired.

What happens if damage is reported?

If damage is reported, our team will discuss this and decide whether or not a charge should be made. If so, we’ll talk to you and what happens next will depend on whether you have paid a cash deposit that is protected by the tenancy deposit legislation or whether a local authority has provided a deposit bond against your tenancy.

Common charges

Here are some of the more common charges that are incurred:

  • Oven cleaning – around £50
  • Professional cleaning – £150-£250, depending on size of property
  • Painting and decorating – £125 per day plus materials
  • Removal of rubbish or furniture – £40-£250, depending on the volume.

What happens if I have rent arrears?

If you leave the property with rent arrears, payment will either be deducted from your deposit, sought through a court judgement or via a debt collector.

Worried about rent arrears?

If you can’t bring your rent up to date before you check out, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can help you find a solution. You can also contact National Debtline for advice on 0808 808 4000 or chat to an advisor on their website:

Cash deposit

If you made a cash deposit, it’s being held by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS). We’ll notify the DPS that the tenancy has ended and submit a claim for the damage or rent arrears.

The DPS will contact you to tell you about the claim and to ask you whether you agree or disagree with it. If you agree, you’ll receive any deposit back with the amount of the claim deducted. If you don’t agree, you can raise a dispute and you’ll be asked to submit evidence or paperwork to back this up. A DPS adjudicator will make a decision. They won’t visit the property but they’ll make a decision based on the evidence provided, including the check-out report and any invoices from contractors for repairs or cleaning.

Local authority deposit bond

If the local authority provided a deposit bond, we’ll submit a claim for the damage or rent arrears directly to the local authority. Each local authority has a different way of processing claims but all local authorities require evidence to support the claim and they usually contact tenants for comments before making a decision on the award. Councils will send you a bill and you will need to set up a repayment plan.

Why is it so important to leave properties in good condition?

Most of our tenants work very hard to leave their property in tip-top condition but, for the few who don’t, the consequences are serious. Most local authorities will pursue tenants for a claim made against their deposit bond and the tenant will enter into a “housing debt” with them. This can affect their ability to be on a council’s housing register and their ability to bid on and be offered social housing in the future.

It also affects our ability as a non-profit, social lettings agent to help people find and keep quality accommodation. Our funding is limited but we have to compete with high street lettings agents to acquire and retain properties. If we’re required to cover the cost of damage and cleaning, there will be less money available to help others when they need us.

Property handover checklist

Getting your property ready for check out

1 Read your check-in inventory

This will tell you how the property looked when you moved in and how clean it was. Can’t find it? Don’t worry, we can send you a copy.

2 The property is clean

The inventory should describe the cleanliness of the property. If it was domestically cleaned, you can clean the property yourself. If it was professionally cleaned, you will need to arrange for it to be professionally cleaned.

3 The property is in the same condition as it was when I moved in

Some “fair wear and tear” is expected but otherwise you need to make sure the property is in the same condition as it was at the start of your tenancy.

4 The garden is clear and tidy

The garden should be left clear, tidy and in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy.

5 Garages and sheds are clear and tidy

If your property has a garage, shed or outbuilding it should be left tidy and all rubbish should be removed.

6 Items that came with the property have been returned to their original location

Any items that were listed in your check-in inventory will need to be returned to their original location in the property. If you no longer have an item, replace it with an item of similar make, quality and design.

7 All light bulbs work

Replace any missing or dead light bulbs and make sure all are working before you check out.

8 Fridge is empty, clean, open and switched off

Remove all food and drinks from the fridge, turn it off, clean the interior, and leave the door open to avoid any nasty smells. Please remove all items from the freezer, defrost it, clean it and again leave the door open. Please clean the washing machine soap dispenser.

9 Meter readings

When you are ready to leave the property, turn off all lights and all gas and electric appliances. Take a photograph and/or make a note of the final electricity and gas meter readings.

10 Rubbish

All rubbish should be removed from the property and outside the property. Please do not leave bins overflowing or rubbish bags around bins, please remove it all from the property.

What is fair wear and tear?

Fair wear and tear describes the level of damage to carpets, decorations, fixtures, fittings and furniture that can reasonably be expected during the length of a tenancy.

What level of cleaning do you expect?

Clean every room paying close attention to areas that are hidden, such as behind radiators, inside the oven, grill and kitchen cupboards and so on, as the inventory clerk will check these things on behalf of the landlord. It is natural for a few dirty marks to develop over time on walls, around light switches and on doorframes. Please wipe these down. You could fill a tub of warm water and add a capful of fabric softener and use a soft sponge to wipe off the marks. The solution should not be strong enough to remove paintwork and will give the property a pleasant smell.

Hiring a cleaning company

If you need to hire a cleaning company, you can use the information above to tell the company what you expect of them. If you have concerns about how you’ll pay for the cleaning or you would like help choosing a company, get in touch and the team will do our best to help.

Check-out admin checklist

1 Make sure rent payments are up to date

Is your rent account fully paid up to the date you leave the property or the date the notice expires, if later? If you’re unsure how much you need to pay, get in touch.

2 Keep any receipts

If you pay for any cleaning, repairs or items you’ve replaced, keep them in case they’re needed as proof.

3 Wind up all utilities and bills

Notify gas, electricity and water companies that you are moving out and provide them with final meter readings and a forwarding address. Make sure you cancel all TV, broadband and phone packages for the property.

4 Set up a postal redirect

We can’t promise to collect your post after you check out or arrange for the new occupiers to forward post for you so we recommend that you arrange a short-term postal redirection while you notify people of your new address.

5 Give Ethical Lettings a forwarding address

Please provide us with a forwarding address before you check out.

6 Return all keys

When you leave the property, it’s extremely important that you return all keys to us as rent will continue to be charged until you’ve done so.



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Download our check-out leaflet