Sam Bailey


17 June 2016 11:51

8 Things To Do When You Move Out

You’ve been to five boat balls, a post-exam trip to The Stags’ and numerous trips to the common for ice cream. Now it’s time to move out! It can be pretty daunting, so here are a few helpful things to remember… Don’t forget The Advice Centre is always here to help if you have any issues.

1. Get your deposit back

Pretty much what paying rent is like...

Deposit. Admin fees. Rent. Check in fee. Check out fee. Utility bills.

Your landlord or letting agent should put your deposit into one of three deposit protection schemes if you sign an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, you can use the Shelter website to check. They should return your deposit promptly if they are satisfied with the condition of the house, but what happens if they aren’t? In that case they may inform you that money will be deducted from the deposit to cover the cost of the cleaning or repairs necessary – but you might disagree that it’s necessary or think it’s too much. Find yourself in that situation? Read on…

I dispute the amount being deducted and my deposit was protectedContact the deposit protection scheme to raise a dispute over the return of your deposit – you can find details on the scheme’s website. They will deal with the disagreement in an unbiased and independent way, to decide fairly how much money you should get back. Send in evidence to make your case as strong as it can be, with photos of the condition of the property when you moved in and when you left, a copy of the inventory and any relevant letters or emails from the landlord or agent. Chat to an adviser in The Advice Centre if you want to talk about your options.

I dispute the amount being deducted and my deposit wasn’t protectedThis is more tricky, I recommend you go and talk to The Advice Centre to talk through your options. You can write a formal letter to the landlord or agent (there’s a template from Shelter) and potential breach of housing legislation by not protecting your deposit. If they don’t reply you could consider legal action – more information is available from the Government website or from the Law School’s housing clinic.

Born free, and life is worth living But only worth living 'Cause you're born free

Born free, and life is worth living. But only worth living, ’cause you’re born free

2. Arrange a final inspection and hand your keys back

Talk to your landlord or letting agent about the process of moving out. Will they be inspecting the house before you leave or after? What time and where do you have to drop the keys off? It’s a good idea to take photos, or even a video, around the property showing the condition when you left it compared to when you moved in and signed the inventory. Settling disputes later on over your deposit will be a lot easier if you have evidence to back you up.

3. Get cleaning

You should aim to leave the house in the same state as when you moved in, as detailed in the inventory. Take a look back at your contract, it might specify what needs to be cleaned when you move out (don’t forget ovens and washing machines!), and the standard they are looking for. Gardens often trip people up, so check whether you are responsible for cutting the grass before hundreds of pounds are knocked off your deposit… Cleaning is one of the most common reasons people lose out on getting the full amount of money back so it’s worth spending a few hours extra on it!

Even if your housemates are moving out at different times make sure everyone takes their fair share of responsibility to clean the house – particularly communal areas!

4. Shift your leftover stuff

Shift Your Stuff and cats.

Shift Your Cats

If you leave behind anything in the house that wasn’t there when you moved in (bookcases, tables, hamsters) money could be taken from your deposit to cover the cost of removing it. Donate your unwanted items to a new home with Shift Your Stuff – from clothes to kitchen utensils, food to duvets – or there’s Southampton City Council’s bulky waste collection service for a small fee.

5. Finalise bills and take meter readings

Contact your utility providers and ask for your final bills, making sure you take final readings on the day you move out. Agree with your housemates who should pay what, especially if some people are leaving early. It’s a good idea to keep a record of what you paid and when, just in case there are any problems.

6. Have the awkward money conversation

Once your final rent and utility bills have been paid cancel any standing orders or direct debits you have set up from your bank accounts. Make sure your landlord or letting agent has the details of the bank account you’d like the deposit paid into and have decided how you’re going to split it up between your housemates – having the conversation now will avoid awkward moments in a month’s time…

You might be able to apply for a refund on your TV Licence if you’re eligible – check the TV Licence website.

7. Change your address

If you’ve got important documents like bank statements or Nectar card vouchers coming to your old house make sure you change the address! Just in case you miss anything Royal Mail can redirect post addressed to you. Make sure the landlord or agent has an up to date contact for one of the people in your house.

8. Vent About Your Rent!

Share your housing experiences with other students with Vent About Your Rent – you could win a month’s rent or Ikea vouchers! This will help us let students know what to look out for, but also lobby the University, councils and letting agents to improve student housing.

Done all of that? Congratulations you’re ready to move out! If you’ve graduated then best of luck with your next steps (and remember to fill in the DLHE survey!) and if you’re back next year then have a great summer!

Get in touch! Questions, queries, opinions and thoughts

Email me at

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Or come and find me in the Sabb Office on Level 2 of Building 42!

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