As we approach the end of another academic year, many students will soon be moving out of their student accommodation. Some will be leaving university for good, others are simply heading into a new student property. It’s important to leave your home in a good state to avoid any repair or cleaning charges. Knowing where to start can be a real challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.
To ensure a smooth departure from your student property there are a few things you, the tenant, need to do. Most of it is pretty obvious and involves things like cleaning up thoroughly to ensure the property is left in the same state you found it in when you moved in.
We have put together the following guide to help you and ensure your tenancy completion goes smoothly and to avoid unnecessary charges against your deposit.
Inform your landlord or letting agent
A few weeks ahead of your moving out date, make sure you check in with your landlord or letting agent for a reminder of anything you need to bear in mind when leaving your accommodation. Maybe even check the date you need to move out, in case you are not sure. It’s easy to forget these details in the middle of all the excitement around moving out.
Clear Everything Out
Take time to sort through your belongings and decide whether you really need to take everything with you. You may be surprised at how much stuff you have accumulated since moving in.
When you have sorted through your belongings, you might find yourself with a pile of things that you don’t want. You have offered them to your flatmates but they don’t want them either. So why not donate them to charity?
A piece of good advice is: if it’s rubbish, dispose of it, if it can be reused, recycle it. And if it’s something you don’t want or need, but it’s still in good condition, donate it to someone else who can benefit from it. If you think you can make some extra cash, sell it on eBay or Gumtree. That’s a great way to sell unwanted items. Kitchen utensils you own or clothes in good condition that you no longer want or need are probably suitable for donation.
Local food banks such as The Trussell Trust provide emergency food for people in crisis and welcome any donations of non-perishable food. And charities such as Cancer Research UK or the British Heart Foundation, always appreciate clean clothing in good condition. Remember them before disposing of anything reusable.
Some Advice on Packing
Before you chuck everything in boxes, think carefully about what you are packing and when you might need it. Pack any items you are less likely to need soon at the bottom of boxes and any essential items such as phone chargers and your toothbrush should be packed at the top so they are easy to access. You don’t want to be going through all your boxes trying to find these items. It is a very good idea to write on each box what it contains as we promise you will forget what is where.
If you are packing fragile or sharp items such as glasses, picture frames and knives, wrap them up and keep them safe. You don’t want any accidents or damage in transit, so use bubble wrap or clothing or newspapers to protect your items.
Clean your Room and Property
When you are ready to vacate your room, don’t leave your accommodation without giving it a good clean before you go. One of the most important moments of your tenancy, the final clean of the property you’ve been renting is always going to be key for the return of your deposit. Your room was in a good, clean condition when you moved in and should be left how you found it. It’s vital that everyone joins in, as the cleaning process needs to be a team effort.
Try to tackle everything and clean as thoroughly as you can. Having a clean room and flat will help to ensure you pass the room inspection upon checking out and avoid any additional charges incurred from hiring professional cleaners to come in. The key is to do a thorough job so that the landlord or letting agent doesn’t need to order a follow-up clean, which would unfortunately come out of your deposit.
Bear in mind that during the cleaning of the property, you can do everything yourself, but consider getting an extra pair of hands involved by promising friends a rewarding pint after the clean up. Plus, the more of you that are involved, the easier the work will be!!
Make an Inventory check
The next step is to make sure to compare all the items in the house against the record laid out in the inventory. You will have signed this document when you moved in. If there has been unreasonable wear and tear of certain areas of the house or items such as furniture have been damaged, it’s worth discussing this with the agent. Fixing these things yourself or have it fixed professionally by yourself may be cheaper than us having to buy a new one. We have to pass things on to the next tenant in a good condition.
Sometimes, as hard as you try to avoid it, damage will happen. The important thing is just to be honest about them, rather than trying to hide them when you move out. If you are fair with the landlord, he may take a kinder view towards repairs. If you don’t mention damages, you will find it harder to argue your case when they are discovered. So if something has happened during the move, inform and discuss it with the agent.
Keep a record
It’s essential that you make a note of the final meter readings on your date of departure for gas, electricity, and water. For additional peace of mind, take a date-stamped photo of any meters themselves so that you have concrete proof if any providers try and question your records. Keeping a record of any damage and photos of your cleaning efforts is also a good idea.
Don’t chuck out all the important paperwork that’s built up during your time as a tenant too soon. Hang on to bills, Tenancy Agreements, deposit documentation or anything else that may serve a useful purpose in case of any questions that are asked later after you have moved out.
Pay open accounts
It’s essential that you pay off any outstanding bills when the time comes for you to move out of any rented home. If you fail to do so, you could incur fees from the utility provider or the letting agent due to the hassle of chasing any debts. You may also find late fees beginning to stack up, whilst things can get even more serious the longer you don’t pay.
It’s important to remember to update your address and contact information with the agent and other organisations when you move out of a property. They may need to contact you as will your university, bank, Royal Mail, Amazon, and any other companies you have an account with.
If you don’t update your postal details, private mail will still go to your old address and it could be opened by the next occupants. Leaving a forwarding address with your landlord or letting agent, is important for any mail to be sent through to you.
We aim to have a smooth handover with all tenants and will do everything we can to return your deposit to you once we have checked the property over and dealt with things like final utility bills. It is normally having to wait for things like these final bills to come through to us that causes any delays. If you have any concerns please contact your local office for an update.
If there’s going to be a period between tenancies in two student properties or if you are leaving your accommodation, but don’t have a new place to move into straight away then you might be wondering what to do with all your belongings. It may be that you need to temporarily secure a storage facility. If you know this is going to be the case, make sure you organise it as far in advance as possible.
The most obvious point you could think of is to not forget to lock the property when you move out. Any sign of a burglary without the need for forced entry will be incredibly obvious and the cost to you (and your housemates) could be immense. So be sure all windows and windows are closed and locked.
Return your key
The last thing to do is to make sure you hand back over the keys when you have left the property. Amongst the hustle and bustle of moving, it can be easy to forget to hand over your keys back to your local office. If you take them with you and they get lost, the process of the letting agent or landlord being forced to change the locks could prove expensive. The property owner is entitled to expect the keys swiftly, or they may choose to change the locks and incur additional charges for the inconvenience. So, make sure you leave them out on the side and don’t pack them away.
Whether you are leaving because you have finished your studies, or are just moving out for summer, we hope that your move goes well and you enjoy the next chapter of your journey.
And if you’re returning, we look forward to welcoming you back for the new term in September. Are you still looking for student property to rent? You are more than welcome to contact Mistoria to see what we have to offer. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 0800 500 3015.