Preparing To Vacate Your Rental Property

Things to do before you move out

Moving out of your rental property involves more than just packing up your things and returning the keys. In order to pass your final inspection and complete the rental process properly, there are certain tasks you need to take care of.

Below is a step-by-step guide to help you prepare to vacate your rental property.

1. Ensure all items are removed

Moving time is the perfect opportunity to get rid of excess or unwanted items. However, don’t be tempted to leave behind things you don’t want when you vacate. None of your items should be left at the property by the time you leave.

This includes items left on the kerb for council pickup. Make sure you organise this in plenty of time – preferably two to three weeks in advance – as the process can take a few weeks, and all rubbish must be removed before keys are returned.

Visit your local council website to check whether they offer this service and make arrangements for pickup:

2. Give the property a thorough clean

You must ensure that your property is thoroughly cleaned before you hand the keys back. Returning keys is final; it is viewed as an indication that you’re happy with how you’ve left the property.

As a basic cleaning guideline, remember that you need to leave the property in the same condition it was in at the start of your tenancy, as per the ingoing condition report (more on this below).

Ensure that you clean:

  • All flooring
  • Shelves, cupboards, benchtops and other surfaces
  • Stovetop, oven, rangehood and exhaust fan in kitchen
  • All aspects of bathroom, paying particular attention to shower, bath and toilet
  • Windows, windowsills and tracks
  • Blinds and curtains
  • Walls and skirting boards
  • Light fittings and ceiling fans
  • Air conditioner vents
  • External areas such as garages (sweep and tidy)
  • Lawns and gardens (mow/trim/tidy, if applicable)
  • Bins (must be empty and clean, not left on kerb).

Professional carpet cleaning is not compulsory unless the carpet is visibly stained or dirty, or you are a pet owner. Properties with pets must undergo a professional carpet clean and a professional pest spray; copies of receipts for these processes must be handed to your property manager when you return your keys.

3. Check the property against the ingoing condition report

You should still have a copy of the ingoing condition report your property manager completed at the beginning of your tenancy. After you have finished cleaning, you should cross-check the condition of the property with the ingoing report to ensure everything matches up.

Your property manager will also check this when completing the final inspection and filling in an outgoing condition report, but it’s a good idea to reference it yourself to ensure you haven’t missed anything.

4. Ensure your utilities have been disconnected

It’s your responsibility to disconnect all your utilities when you vacate the property. This includes:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Phone
  • Internet.

Inform your utilities providers as early as possible of your vacating date, otherwise you may be charged for the next billing period.

Remember to update your address for any mail you may receive as well. You can leave a forwarding address with your property manager, but we also recommend using Australia Post’s mail redirection service.

5. Ensure all payments are up to date and return keys on time

A vacate date will be arranged as soon as you give notice to your property manager that you’ll be leaving the property. This will be the date on which you return your keys and finalise the tenancy. Make sure you adhere to this date and have all your preparations made so you can return the keys on time.

You should also ensure that all payments are up to date. Check with your property manager if you’re unsure whether you have any outstanding payments.

Rent is payable until the date you return your keys; don’t rely on your bond to cover your final rent payments, as the entire bond is held until the tenancy has been finalised. It will only be used to cover additional cleaning, repairs or outstanding amounts if required.

If applicable, a final water usage bill will be calculated at the final inspection and your property manager will advise you of the amount owing.


If you have any questions about ending your lease and vacating the property, be sure to get in touch with your property manager, who can talk you through the process.


Header photo by Russ Hendricks



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