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Moving out in 6 steps – Here is how

Unless you’ve done it a handful of times, moving will be quite a stressful even in your life. There are many tasks and actions you need to perform before, while and after moving to fully adapt to your new rented property. Aside, you need to sort out the final bits and pieces of your tenancy, […]

moving out

Unless you’ve done it a handful of times, moving will be quite a stressful even in your life. There are many tasks and actions you need to perform before, while and after moving to fully adapt to your new rented property. Aside, you need to sort out the final bits and pieces of your tenancy, get all of your deposit back and follow the proper procedures with your landlord. Finally, you have to cancel or transfer all your subscriptions for utilities, water, cable, internet, local services, gyms, clubs and whatever other things you’ve signed up for.

This post will touch on the most important aspect of moving and give you essential tips on how to do it easier and more efficient.

1.Start your property hunt immediately

hunt for property

Finding the right property takes time. There is a vast market out there and getting the good stuff, for the proper budget will require you to invest time and energy into searching. You need to account for a few important aspects like:

  • Rent prices and cost of life
  • Property size / features / quality
  • Access to transport links to work and school
  • Grocery stores and supermarkets in the area
  • Safety
  • Air quality and health factors
  • Local amenities, like parks, shopping areas, leisure and entertainment
  • Local services

Finding the balance and right mixture of all those things will equate to a very few properties. Almost always you will have to make some compromise, but with enough looking, you can at least get down the first three. It’s often unreasonable to compromise with the top three, since they will directly influence your daily life and happiness. Of course, your list might be different than ours.

It’s important to set your own priorities and start your search based on YOUR most important factors for quality of life.

Basically, you should start searching for a new property well before you’ve decided on the move out date. If you’re renting with a periodic tenancy agreement (which you most likely are), the law requires you to serve your landlord with an official notice at least a month before the move out date.

If a landlord wants to evict you, and you haven’t broken the tenancy agreement in any way, they must give you at least two months of time before the eviction can go into effect. If you want to have a better time moving and score that perfect new property, it’s a good idea to give yourself three months of time, before moving day. Go onto the major property portals like Zoopla and Rightmove and start narrowing down on that priority list you’ve made.

Check with our letting agents directory and look for letting agencies in the area you’re moving to.

2. Prepare for your move in advance


Assuming you’ve began looking at properties, it’s a good idea to start slowly preparing your home (and life) for the upcoming event.

Two months before your move, you want to begin clearing your unneeded belongings. During the years, you’ve definitely accumulated tons of things you don’t like, want or use for whatever reasons. Starting your life in a new place, you really don’t want all that junk with you, so start reducing.

Assess your items

Are there clothes you don’t wear anymore ? Is that sweat shirt for aunt Cecilia not your type ? Time for all the old clothes and rags to go. Gather your wardrobe and separate it into three piles:

Donation pile: put here all the clothes you will not wear, but are not worn out. There is no point in throwing away something that might be useful another person. When you get finish, put all the clothes in a box and bring them to your local charity. If you don’t know where to go and donate, you can find a charity in your areas in the Clothes for Charity website.

Throw away pile: put here all the torn, worn and ripped clothes you find. You won’t wear them and neither should a person in need, so don’t put them in the donation pile. Most charities will not accept worn out clothing either way. Don’t throw them away just yet however. You will have a need for rags before you move out and these clothes can serve that purpose one last time.

Keep pile: Are you sure you’re going to wear all of those ? Have you worn them at least once in the last 12 months ? No – then, you’re probably not going to wear them in the next 12 months either. (exceptions for suits and official evening gowns). If you’ve really filtered all the things you want to keep, the order and organise this pile into your wardrobe. When you organise, think of how you will need to pack them in a few months and plan accordingly.

When you’re done with your clothes, repeat this for all other things you own – accessories, kitchen appliances and utensils, devices, gadgets, decorations, ornaments, etc. etc. etc.

Stop buying things

It’s usually cost-effective to purchase consumables and groceries in bulk from large market outlets. However, you should better switch to lower qualities in the remaining time until move day. You definitely don’t want to be moving foods and consumables and it’s a bad idea to buy so many that you have to throw away before you go.

Start eating out all your stock, use up all the canned food, sauces, spices and cooking fixes. If you’ve filled the freezer, start defrosting and cooking the meats and other food. Try to cook all your remaining foods before hand and only buy things for the week, so you don’t have to deal with excesses.

Sell you appliances and furniture

If you’re moving from an unfurnished to a furnished property, it’s likely that you will have quite some many things you need to get rid of. You probably won’t be able to take your couch, dining table and washing machine with you, so start selling.

If you have friends and family in the city, tell them first about your things. Often times, some of them will be eager to get them out of your hands and even help you move. Otherwise, you can try websites like Preloved, Gumtree and Craigslist.

If you don’t manage to sell them a week before your moving day, consider putting them up for donation, or free of charge if the person comes to pick it up themselves. You don’t want to leave anything in the property unless it’s your landlord’s. If you leave any heavy equipment and furniture and don’t arrange it with your landlord first, they may decide to remove it and charge the service on your deposit. While the worst case scenario is often unlikely, it’s best to prevent it if possible.

3. Arrange the end of tenancy

phone the landlord

T minus five weeks, you should phone your landlord or your letting agent and inform them of your decision to move. You can do this earlier if you want, but five weeks away is a decent time. They will have a week to respond and digest the information, before you serve them the one-month end of tenancy notice.

Again, you don’t have to, but it’s a nice thing to do and the end of tenancy is really a time where you want to be in good terms with your landlord and letting agent. Remember that spite can go a long way to ruin your day, so best avoid it.

It’s best to serve your notice when you pay your last month’s rent. That way the tenancy ends exactly on the moving day and nobody has paid for more than they want to use.

Before you hand in your notice, it’s a good idea to go back and organise the documents from your tenancy. Prepare your rent payment and utility bills, your check in inventory, the tenancy agreement and organise your mail with the landlord and letting agency. These will come in handy if any dispute over the deposit arises at the last moment.

4. Repair and clean the property

cleaning the property

Speaking of the deposit, you will only get it back if you return the property in the same condition you got it, or better. This is the time where you have to start clearing and cleaning the whole place. It’s probably been awhile since you last deep cleaned the house, and now is the perfect time to do it.

Don’t wait until the last few days are left. Leaving things for the end is a good way to miss half the things and get in trouble. Rather, do the big cleaning beforehand and only mop around before you hand in the keys. It will leave you a good time to discover errors on your part and correct them before the final inventory inspections.

Also, you should discover quite a few fixes you need to do before leaving, especially if you’ve been living in the same property for a while.

You can do small fixes yourself like:

  • Fill in nail holes in the walls
  • Replace broken or flickering light bulbs
  • Remove spots and stains
  • Repaint and polish areas in need

For larger repair jobs, it’s best to leave it to competent handymen. Often times the quest to be cost efficient can cause you to spend more to undo bad DIY.

You can also arrange bigger repair jobs with your landlord. Landlords often use trusted service providers who will do the job well and cost a good amount. If you can’t pay for the repairs, ask for them to be deducted from your deposit. However, if you do that, remember to settle on an agreed cost for the job and get a copy of the quote. Otherwise, you may be deducted more than you expected or would have paid to get the property fixed.

5. Pack and Move

pack and move

It’s really best if you can sign your new lease a week before your old one expires. You will have to pay a week more, which sometime is a considerable amount. However, you will have that week free to move your luggage in time and stress-free.

That’s why, It’s really recommended if you can start packing two weeks away. Start with off the season clothes, decorations, books and rarely used equipment. Pack the things you won’t need or can do without until you’re set up in the new place.

Pack your boxes on a room-by-room basis, rather than grouping items of the same type. This will help you out when unpacking. Use labels on the top and sides, so you can see what goes where, while your boxes are stacked.

If you are going to hire a removals company, it’s best to book your slot right now. Some companies offer discounts if you book early. In any case, it will cost you far more if you try to get a service for tomorrow or the day after. Also, you will have enough time to find the right company for the job.

Check with our services directory and see our moving companies listings.

6. Arrange your subscriptions


You need to review your utilities, cable, internet, gym and other subscriptions well before you move. Some of them will need a month’s notice before you can cancel, just like your landlord. Others, you can directly transfer to a location near your new flat. Review the terms of use for each one and call their support for additional information.

Don’t leave them for last, only to realise you will have to make a few more payments for a month you will not live in the last apartment.

A week before you move, you have to arrange your change of address. You need to inform your:

  • Bank / Mortgage lender / Credit company
  • Insurance Company (auto, dental, medical, etc.)
  • Council tax department
  • DVLA (driver’s licence)
  • Redirect your mail and voting address
  • Childcare
  • Doctors, Therapists, Vets
  • Domestic service providers

Moving is stressful, but with the right management and preparation you can alleviate the last minute errors and failures. If you need help dealing with your current or future landlord, please use our tenant advice guides. Otherwise, you can always ask a question in our forums, where industry professionals will help you sort your problems out.


This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.

We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our Managing your home category.

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