You will probably know when your lease term is coming to an end, and as your property managers, we will want to talk about your future plans. Whether you decide to renew your lease or move out, we’ll have a discussion about next steps. When you decide not to renew the lease and move on, we will wish you well and do everything we can to make the move-out process easy.

At Specialized Property Management, we love working with good tenants, and it’s our hope that you’ve enjoyed your stay with us. Be sure to reach out if you have any questions during the process of moving out of your home.

One of the first things you’ll receive is a handy list of guidelines that we’ll expect you to follow. Paying attention to this move-out checklist will make things easier on our end and yours. It will also increase the likelihood that your security deposit will be returned in full. We show our good tenants our appreciation by providing positive rental references when future landlords and property managers call us.

Together, we can make the move-out process well-organized and stress-free for everyone.

Pay Attention to Move-In Condition Cleaning

At the beginning of the lease, we provided you with a property that was clean and functioning. We hope you can return the property to us in similar condition, and that’s why the first item on your move-out checklist is cleaning. We expect that you’ll do everything you can to return the property to its original proper, clean condition.

First, move everything out. Don’t leave any personal items behind. Take out all of the trash and check the yard and closets for any garbage. It’s critical that you don’t leave anything in the house, even if you think it won’t matter. It will. Our expectation is to receive a clean, empty property. Anything that’s left behind will be removed, and we’ll charge your security deposit for that removal fee.

After all of your belongings are moved out of the property, we recommend you check out the appliances in the home. You’ll want to clean them and ensure they’re working the way they were when you moved in. Clean the microwave and inside the fridge. Run the dishwasher so it gets cleaned out. Remove dust and grease from the range and range hood and make sure you don’t leave any crumbs or food particles in cabinets. Dust the tops of everything and gently pull the appliances out from the walls so you can clean around and behind them.

Sinks, cabinets, and drawers also need to be thoroughly cleaned. Wipe down the faucets and knobs, and make sure everything is empty. Hard surface floors should be swept and then washed, and if you have carpets in the home, make sure to get them professionally steam-cleaned. You can submit a receipt to our office so we don’t charge you for this service.

We also suggest that you clean the walls, and pay particular attention to those areas around light switches and door handles. Clean the walls in your bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways. Please dust and wipe down all of the baseboards and doors as well. Then, you can clean the windows and make sure the screens are in good repair. Dust away any debris, dust, dirt, or cobwebs that may have gathered outside the property.

Bathrooms always need a little extra attention. Please clean and disinfect all the surfaces, tubs, toilets, and sinks. Clean the floor as well and pull out anything that may be clogging drains.

Any pet damage must be repaired before you move out. Your lease may indicate that you’re responsible for lawn care, and if you are, be sure the grass is cut and the bushes are trimmed. Plan to have your trash removed before that service is discontinued. There shouldn’t be any trash cans or recyclable bins in the driveway or the walkway.

Finally, you’ll need to change any light bulbs that are out. Change the air filter as well. Any other items that are given to you by your agent should also be reviewed and completed.

Change the Utility Accounts

Once you know the property has been cleaned and is in good condition, you can turn off the utilities that are in your name. We recommend that you arrange for those utilities to be turned off on the last day of your lease. In order to set up service elsewhere, you may want to be sure you’re no longer associated with the utilities at your current property.

You’re now ready to say goodbye to your property. Please return the house and/or building keys to our office, as well as any garage door openers, pool passes, or other items. We ask that you drop them off to us no later than noon on the day you’re moving out.

Preparing for the Return of Your Security Deposit

security depositAs you’re vacating your property, you’ll probably wonder when you can expect to get your security deposit back. After all, it’s your money. We follow a process that’s consistent with Texas law. When you moved in, we spent some time discussing the security deposit process. Check your lease agreement if you want to review the procedures involved in collecting, holding, and returning that deposit. Your lease will also have some information on how to avoid being charged for damage and cleaning fees.

We cannot charge your deposit for any wear and tear. This is considered normal in a rental property, and you won’t be held responsible for anything we identify as normal wear and tear. We define this as the natural and gradual deterioration of the property over time. It’s a result of your normal use of the home, and it would happen no matter who was living there. Every home is prone to wear and tear, so tenants are not charged to make those repairs.

A good example of wear and tear is carpet. If there’s a lot of wear on the carpet in high traffic areas like hallways, we’ll consider it wear and tear. If the paint has small holes in the walls from pictures that you hung, that’s considered wear and tear as well. Scuff marks on that paint from where a piece of furniture was against the wall will be considered wear and tear.

You will be charged for any damage beyond normal wear and tear. Any damage that you leave behind which is due to abuse or neglect will result in a charge. If there’s something that you should have done to prevent the home from getting damaged, you’ll be charged. If you fail to let us know when there’s a problem that requires maintenance, you will face a deduction in your deposit. Any abuse or misuse of the property that results in damage will be charged back to you, the tenant.

Additional fees, in addition, the security deposit may be charged when there is destruction to the rental property. For example, if you used the property for something that it should not have been used for or if you changed the property somehow without approval, we’re going to charge you for those things. For example, if you repainted the walls during your tenancy and you didn’t return them to their original color and paint quality before moving out, we will charge you the cost to re-paint the property.

We understand that accidental damage can sometimes occur by mistake. While you may not have purposely damaged the property, when accidents happen, your security deposit will have to cover the cost to fix them.

Sometimes it’s hard to judge the difference between wear and tear and damage. We do this by considering the extent of the repairs that the property needs, the length of time you’ve been living at the home, and the structure and condition of the building.

Generally, we have found that our tenants often prefer to take care of any damage on their own. Getting things fixed before you move out can save you money and protect your security deposit.

In accordance with Texas law, you will receive all or part of your security deposit within 30 days of your move-out date. If we end up keeping your deposit or any portion of it, you’ll receive an itemized list of what was deducted and why we felt it was necessary. When you return your keys and other belongings, make sure you leave us with a valid forwarding address. We’ll need to know where to send your deposit.

Keep your move-out checklist handy as you prepare to leave your property and start new somewhere else. These are the most important things you’ll need to consider, and we want to make sure everything goes smoothly.

If you have any questions about what you need to do before leaving the property or how to ensure you get your security deposit back, please contact us at Specialized Property Management in Dallas. We hope you enjoyed your stay in one of our properties, and we are here if you ever need rental housing again.