A tenant move-out checklist is something that every landlord should provide their tenants. 

Doing so helps ensure both parties are on the same page regarding the tenant’s move-out responsibilities. That way, you avoid potential disputes regarding the condition of the rental unit upon the tenants moving out.

What Is a Tenant Move-Out Checklist?

A tenant move-out checklist, also sometimes called a tenant move-out cleaning checklist, specifies a list of tasks that the tenant must do before turning over the apartment to you. 

This type of landlord-tenant checklist is used during the move-out inspection to document the condition of the rental property before the next tenants move in. It’s also used to determine whether or not the tenants who are moving back get their security deposit back in full.

If your tenants comply with all the terms set forth in the tenant move-out checklist form, they should leave the unit in very good shape, and you can give them their deposit back instead of using it to cover cleaning costs or repairs.

We put together a tenant move-out checklist template so you don’t have to. You can use it as is or modify it to suit your needs.

>> Download Our Free Move-Out Checklist <<

What Should a Move-Out Checklist Include?

There are many different types of move-out checklists. Some landlords like to break down their rental properties by room and specify different cleaning and maintenance tasks for each area. Others provide more general guidelines for how to leave their rental units.

Some of the most important move-out tasks to include on a checklist are:

  • Floor cleaning (vacuuming carpet, mopping, removing any stains)
  • Floor repair and maintenance (fixing holes in carpets, repairing broken tiles)
  • Cleaning dirt and dust from walls
  • Filling any holes in walls
  • Cleaning windows and blinds
  • Making sure all doors and windows work properly
  • Washing windows
  • Cleaning all areas of the kitchen, including appliances
  • Making sure all drains are clean and functioning
  • Bathroom cleaning (including mold and mildew removal)
  • Clearing out all belongings and trash
  • Dusting and cleaning light fixtures

Why Is It Important to Provide This Checklist?

Providing a move-out checklist protects both parties from disputes regarding the condition of the apartment and the security deposit. 

By outlining what your tenants are responsible for cleaning and repairing when they move out, there should be no confusion about what’s expected. 

You should be happy with the state of your rental unit when you conduct a move-out inspection and your tenants will also know exactly what they have to do to get their full security deposit back.

Follow the Rules of the Lease Agreement

Ideally, you should include your tenant move-out checklist as an addendum in your lease agreement. This ensures that your tenant is aware of the move-out process and expectations right from the start.

If tenants ever fail to complete the checklist, there will be no doubt about what was expected, and you are within your rights to withhold some or all of their security deposit to cover move-out cleaning and repairs.

In other words, attaching the checklist as part of the original lease agreement makes it more legally binding and provides the best protection for both you and your tenants.

How To Conduct the Inspection (Schedule Ahead of Time)

As soon as your tenants inform you that they will be moving out, talk to them to schedule a date and time for a move-out inspection. 

Scheduling the inspection well ahead of time gives your tenants plenty of time to complete the move-out checklist.

On the day of the inspection, bring your own printed copy of the checklist and use it to inspect all the different areas of the house. Make notes next to anything on the checklist that was not completed. You can use abbreviations like “NC” for “needs cleaning” to make this easy.

After the inspection, let your tenants know if there is anything they missed or did not complete to your satisfaction, so they have a chance to do it.

 If they don’t comply, you can inform them how much of their security deposit you will need to withhold to cover the costs of cleaning or repairs yourself.

The Bottom Line 

A tenant move-out checklist is an essential document that helps ensure your rental property stays in good condition and is clean and functional for the next tenants, minimizing turnover time. 

Key takeaways:

  • Move-out checklists protect both tenants and landlords
  • Checklists reduce the chances of security deposit disputes
  • You should include the checklist as an addendum in the lease agreement
  • Your checklist can be highly detailed or provide general guidelines
  • Make sure to include all areas of the apartment that you want cleaned
  • Conduct a move-out inspection using a copy of the checklist to document the condition of the unit