That might sound surprising, but when you think of the stacks of paperwork, packing, flat-packing, new neighbours and financial costs, it’s no wonder most of us try to limit the number of times we move house.
We might not be able to help you with the heavy-lifting or reassembling that flat-pack chest of drawers for the fourth time, but we can help you avoid some of the unexpected costs of moving out from rented accommodation.
Here are our top tips for avoiding end-of-tenancy fines so you have more money to spend on your new home. (Perhaps even on a new chest of drawers…)
1. Take meter readings
You’re still liable for any outstanding bills after you move out. Write down and date your meter readings for gas, electricity and water on the day you leave. Better yet, take photos of the meter readings. This way you can be confident you’ll only pay for the water and energy you actually used.
2. Make your final rent payment on time
Payment schedules can get confusing, especially if your tenancy started or ended mid-month, or if you arranged a different payment plan with your landlord. Be clear about how much and when your last rent is due. If you’re behind on payments, make sure you settle these too so you don’t get hit with any additional fees.
3. Give the walls a touch-up
Scuffs near the shoe rack? Bolognese sauce up the kitchen wall? Candle wax in the bedroom? We often don’t notice these everyday signs of our homes being lived in, but your landlord probably will. Some may see marks as normal wear and tear covered by your contract, but landlords are within their rights to claim back the cost of redecorating if they consider the damage to be beyond ‘normal’. To be safe, wipe down your walls with sugar soap and rinse with water, leaving them looking fresh. Paint over really stubborn marks. It might cost a few pounds, but it’ll be cheaper than your landlord claiming for a decorator. (Make sure you check the paint colour with your landlord.)
4. Deep-clean the whole property
When you’ve packed all your things away, leave yourself a day to clean everything from top to bottom. Dusty blinds, grubby windows, crumbs in cupboards, over-frosted fridge-freezers and mouldy shower screens are a few common reasons for extra cleaning charges. There are services that specialise in end-of-tenancy cleaning so if you’re short on time (or elbow grease), paying for a professional could work out simpler and cheaper in the long run.
5. Tend to the garden
Don’t forget the outside of the property. If you have a garden or drive, mow the lawn, get rid of any weeds and take your garden waste to the tip.
6. Check your contract
Some contracts might ask you to get the carpets or oven professionally cleaned and to provide receipts as proof. Others might require you to replace blown lightbulbs. Make sure you’ve done everything you agreed to do when you signed your contract.
7. Cross-check your inventory
When you moved in, you’ll have signed an inventory listing all the furniture, appliances, fixtures and fittings that belong to the property. Cross-check everything to make sure it’s in the same state as when you arrived. Replace anything that’s been lost or broken. And remember to remove items that aren’t on the inventory so you don’t get charged for removing them. Even small items like toilet brushes and cooking utensils can incur a cost to get rid of.
8. Choose a Zero Deposit™ Guarantee
If you’re moving into another rented property, you could save hundreds of pounds up front by switching your traditional security deposit for our Zero Deposit™ Guarantee. It’s a trusted alternative that only costs you one week’s rent instead of the month or more that a deposit usually asks for. And it gives landlords more protection than a traditional deposit, so if yours doesn’t already offer a Zero Deposit™ Guarantee, in our experience they’ll be open to talking about it. So far, we’ve helped more 50,000 tenants* move in deposit free and 96% of them plan to use our guarantee for their next place too.
Even if you’re moving in a couple of weeks, it’s not too late to get a Zero Deposit™ Guarantee. Once you’ve got your quote, we can set you up in just four days and moved in six days after that. Get started here.
All numbers referenced above are based on ZD internal data correct as at 31 July 2020 unless otherwise mentioned.