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A simple move out checklist for tenants (free template)

6 step checklist
by Jeff Rohde, posted in Investment Strategy

Time is money in the real estate rental business. The faster a tenant moves out, the sooner a landlord can get the property ready for the next tenant. A move out checklist for tenants helps moving out go more smoothly, makes it easier for a landlord to identify any required repairs, and lets a tenant know if their full security deposit will be returned.

Key takeaways

  • A move out checklist documents the condition of the rental property when the tenant moves out.
  • A landlord benefits from a move out checklist by minimizing potential disputes with the tenant and receiving the property in clean condition.
  • A move out checklist may make it easier to identify any damage caused by the tenant.
  • A tenant benefits from a move out checklist by understanding the condition the property should be in when the tenant moves out to help ensure the security deposit is returned.
  • Some landlords use a general move out checklist as a cleaning guide for tenants, while others use a detailed room-by-room move out checklist for tenants. 
  • A move out checklist for tenants can be customized to include property-specific features, such as a fireplace, swimming pool, or appliances provided by a landlord.

What is a move out checklist for tenants?

A move out checklist is an itemized list that records the condition of various elements in a property when a tenant moves out. 

The checklist acts as a guide for the things a tenant needs to do when they leave the property to help avoid any problems such as forgetting to return the garage door opener or moving the trash container to the street curb for the next pick up. 

Many landlords include a move out checklist for tenants as an addendum (or rider) to the lease agreement. 

check marks

When a move out checklist is incorporated as part of the lease, both the landlord and tenant must follow the instructions. In some cases, a landlord may be able to withhold part or all of a tenant’s security deposit to pay for items the tenant should have taken care of, according to the legal resource website

Why Use A Move Out Checklist?

There are a number of benefits for landlords who use a move out checklist for tenants. 

From the tenant’s viewpoint, a move out checklist can help to ensure the tenant receives the entire refundable security deposit back. For a landlord, providing a tenant with a move out checklist helps to reduce the time and cost of getting the property ready for a new tenant.

Benefits of using a move-out checklist:

  • It minimizes security deposit disputes by letting a tenant know what condition the property should be in when they move out.
  • It highlights pre-existing damage when the move out checklist is compared to the move in checklist completed when the tenant moved in.
  • It identifies any damage caused by the tenant beyond normal wear and tear that may allow a landlord to use part of the security deposit to pay for repairs.
  • It helps ensure the property is in a clean condition so that the home can be turned over and made ready for the next tenant quicker and cost-effectively.
  • It provides a landlord with a better idea of the amount of cleaning and repairs needed to make the property move-in ready.

Examples of a move out checklist

Some landlords prefer to provide tenants a move out checklist that gives a general idea of what is expected when the tenant vacates, similar to a cleaning checklist. Other landlords like to be more specific by breaking down the tenant move out checklist room-by-room. 

Because every rental home is different, a landlord may wish to customize a move out checklist for a specific property. 

For instance, if the kitchen has a refrigerator supplied by the landlord, the move out checklist might specify that all food and crumbs must be removed, the shelves and drawers wiped down, and the freezer section defrosted.

General move out checklist for tenants

Here’s an example of a general move out checklist for tenants that a landlord might use to give a tenant an idea of what to do when vacating the property:

Tenant Move Out Checklist


Property address ________________________________________

Tenant name(s) _________________________________________

Move in date _______________

Move out date ______________


_____ Contact landlord/property manager 2 business days prior to moving out to schedule a move out inspection.

_____ Leave all utilities on until the move out inspection has been completed.

_____ Remove all personal belongings from the property prior to the date of the move out inspection.

_____ Remove all trash from the inside and outside of the property.

_____ Move trash container to the curb if collection is the following day. If trash collection is more than one day after the move out inspection date leave trash in the container next to the home.

_____ Replace any burn-out light bulbs and make sure fixtures are working properly.

_____ Replace all air conditioning vent filters prior to moving out.

_____ Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors (if applicable).

_____ Clean all windows inside and out, including sliding patio door (if applicable).

_____ Clean all kitchen surfaces, walls, floors, stove, oven, cabinets, storage areas, sinks, and appliances.

_____ Clean all bathroom surfaces, toilets, walls, floors, cabinets, storage areas, vanities, mirror, bath tub, shower, and discard the shower curtain (if applicable).

_____ Clean shelving in all bedroom and hallway storage closets, and remove and discard any hangers (if applicable).

_____ Sweep and mop all hard surface flooring.

_____ Vacuum all carpeting.

_____ Remove all debris in exterior areas.

_____ Clean and wash exterior surfaces such as window ledges, front sidewalk, entry way, and front and back porches.

_____ Make sure the front and back yard landscaping is near and clean (if the responsibility of the tenant).

_____ Repaint all walls to the original color at the time of move in (if applicable).

_____ Return all keys and garage door openers to the landlord at the time of the move out inspection.

_____ Notify the landlord of any property damage or issues inside or outside of the home.


Tenant name(s) _________________________________________________

Tenant signature(s) ______________________________________________

Date _______________


Landlord/property manager name __________________________________

Landlord/property manager signature _______________________________

Date _______________


Download a move out checklist template here from Stessa.

To get a more detailed version of a move out checklist for tenants, this resource from eForms can be downloaded for free in a PDF, Word, or ODT format.

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Tips for using a move out checklist for tenants

Both landlords and tenants can use a move out checklist to help make sure they are tipsbeing treated fairly and that their rights are being protected. Here are tips for using a checklist for tenants to help avoid conflict and make moving out go smoothly:

  • Move out and move in checklists should be completed with all tenants and the landlord present to help ensure that the checklists are true and correct.
  • Take photos and videos of the property when moving in and moving out to visually document the property condition.
  • Tenant should immediately notify landlord of any required maintenance or repairs during the tenancy, and of any accidental damage caused by the tenant.
  • Landlord may wish to review the lease with the tenant in-person, to help ensure the tenant understands all of the terms and conditions of the lease agreement.
  • Both landlord and tenant may wish to receive professional guidance or counsel before signing a lease agreement.

Where to find a free move out checklist for tenants

A local real estate attorney or property management company are two good go-to resources for obtaining a move out checklist for tenants. Online resources for finding free move out (and move in) checklists for tenants include:

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