Rental Moving Out and Security Deposit

Tenants Notice To Vacate

Easy move-outs from rental properties benefit both the tenant and landlord. Time is money, so the faster the property management company gains back possession of a rental, the sooner they can get the property ready for the next tenant. On the other hand, the faster the tenant moves out, the quicker they can get their security deposit back. DenCO Property Management & Sales’s (DenCO) Tenants Notice To Vacate includes a checklist that helps the move go more smoothly, makes it easier for a landlord to identify any required repairs, and sets expectations with the tenant on how much their security deposit will be returned.

Security Deposits

Security deposits should be handled professionally—woe to owners and property managers who take this responsibility lightly. The legal penalties of monkeying around with security deposits can be severe. Security deposits usually equal one month’s rent, but the amount might be more if pets are allowed. Security deposits cover any damage during the duration of a leaseholder’s occupancy. Property management companies use these monies to fund necessary repairs before the next tenant moves in. Tenants who successfully make it through their lease without much damage should get their money back in the timeframe stated in the lease. For more information about security deposits, check out our blog titled “How Should Property Managers Manage Security Deposits in Denver?”

Tenant’s Perspective

Moving out is not as simple as packing and moving to the next spot. To help leaseholders meet their responsibilities, DenCO created a move-out list. When finished, the list becomes part of the exit inspection.

Tenant Move Out Checklist

Walls, Ceilings & Doors

  1. Remove all nails and hooks from the walls and spackle any holes. Please do not use toothpaste to fill the nail holes.
  2. Clean or repaint scuff marks where the bed and other furniture meet the wall.
  3. If the tenant painted any rooms, repaint them to their original color.
  4. Note any big holes in the walls.
  5. Wipe down all door frames.
  6. Note door knobs or locks that are not functioning normally.
  7. Dust and wipe down the ceiling fans.


  1. Dust and clean all window blinds in each room.
  2. Dust and clean window sills.
  3. Note any broken windows or blinds.


  1. Sweep and mop all floors.
  2. Use a wood oil and conditioner to remove minor floor scratches.
  3. Note any significant scratches.
  4. Vacuum all carpets and remove any stains with a rug stain cleaner.
  5. Note any rips, stains, and other carpet damage.
  6. Clean all grout lines in kitchen or bathroom tile flooring.
  7. Note any broken tiles.


  1. Unclog any drains
  2. Disinfect and clean the toilets, showers, bathtubs, and sinks. Remove soap, lime, or rust buildup on faucets and other fixtures.
  3. Note any mold or mildew that may have grown over time.
  4.  Note any broken bathroom fixtures.


  1. Remove all items from cupboards, drawers, and pantries, then wipe down their insides.
  2. Remove all food from the refrigerator and freezer, then clean the inside and outside of the appliance.
  3. Defrost the freezer and turn off the ice maker.
  4. Clean the interior and exterior of the microwave. If suspended, wipe the bottom clean. If it sits on a countertop, clean underneath it to remove any food or debris.
  5. Clean stove surfaces and the oven. Be sure to remove any burnt food from oven racks and drip trays.
  6. Ensure the dishwasher is empty, and remove debris that may have collected on the bottom or in the filter.
  7. Run garbage disposal to ensure no food is left inside.
  8. Check all appliances and make sure they are working correctly.
  9. Note any non-working appliance.

Last-Minute Tasks

Tenants who use the move-out list above and treat their rental deserve the return of their security deposit minus any repair costs within the time frame mentioned in the lease. Below are some last-minute tasks.

  1. Tenants need to end their utilities to coincide with the end of their lease.
  2. Knock down any cobwebs with a broom from the corners and ceilings of all rooms.
  3. Sweep all patios, porches, and balconies. Note any damage to the railing or flooring.
  4. Clean out all closets and storage areas.
  5. Clean all light switch plates.
  6. Replace any burnt-out lightbulbs.
  7. Take out any trash and move trash and recycling containers to the street.
  8. Check that the washing machine and dryer are empty and clean out the lint catcher.
  9. Remove all moving boxes and supplies from the residence.
  10. Find all garage door openers and put them on the kitchen counter or table.
  11. Find all keys given to them when they signed the lease.

Owner and Property Manager Move Out Perspective

According to our blog titled “Rental Property Inspection Guide,” property managers perform an exit inspection once the renter vacates the property. Be sure to bring a copy of the move-out checklist to help compare the current property condition to when the tenant moved in. The comparison identifies any tenant-caused damage over and beyond wear and tear. DenCO Property Management provides the tenant with an itemized list and all repair receipts when the security deposit is returned.

Both landlords and tenants can use move-out checklists to make moving easier. They identify any damage caused by tenants beyond normal wear and tear that needs repairs. The lists also minimize security deposit disputes by letting tenants know what condition the property should be in when they move out.