What to do when your lease ends

What to do when your lease ends

What to do when your lease ends

If you are renting a property, it will eventually come to a point where it ends. It can either be because the rental agreement term is nearing its expiration or, in some cases, the lease is terminated early because either the rental provider or the renter has chosen to break off the agreement. Nevertheless, there are still a number of things to do before you pack up and hand over the keys to the property back to its landlord.

Notify the landlord about the end of an agreement

It’s not enough that you just wait for the rental agreement to expire and then move out when it does. You are still required to notify the landlord beforehand that you are moving out on that date. If you fail to do so, your lease will roll over to become a periodic lease.

A rental agreement will only end if you have given notice to move out and return the keys.

Sometimes, if you are planning to break your rental agreement early, you need to give ample time to notify the landlord. Moreover, there is a big chance you will have to pay more fees for breaking the lease early and for the costs of re-letting, advertising, and finding new renters for the property.

When you plan to move out, a pretty simple thing to do first is to give notice. Giving notice means writing to your property manager or landlord to formally let them know that you will be vacating the property when the agreement ends. A faster way to do this is through email.

If you need to verbally negotiate the terms of leaving, you can precede this written notice with a phone call. However, it is essential that both you and the landlord have a copy of this written notice as a reference when the need arises.

End of lease preparation

The amount of time needed for you to give your notice if you’re planning to vacate depends on your reason and the state you reside in.

Generally though, when your lease is coming to an end you are required to give between 14 and 28-days’ notice.

However, if you are on a periodic or month-by-month lease, you are required to give more amount of notice to the landlord so they can have enough time to find a new tenant. It varies state to state though.

After notifying your landlord, you will then need to start the preparation of your moving out. Before moving out, you will need to clean the property, repair any damage incurred during your tenancy and return the keys. You can contact end-of-lease professional cleaners and handymen to do these tasks for you if you are required to do so in your rental agreement.

Do all these before vacating the property on the locked in date. Otherwise, you may be penalised for not leaving the property on time.

Most importantly, your rental payments must be updated before the move out day. Since payments are often paid in advance, it’s crucial that you know how much you owe and when to terminate automatic rent payments.

End-of-lease cleaning

Check the rental agreement documents to see if you are obliged to call in professional cleaners or fumigation experts. Should you choose not to follow the agreed terms of the lease, the landlord has the right to bring professional cleaners in and subtract the costs from your bond.

If you are not required to do so in the rental agreement, then you can clean the rental yourself. It should be as pristine as it was when you moved in.

Getting your bond back

You can get your bond back by making a bond claim. This can only be done once the property has been thoroughly cleaned at the end of the lease and the keys have been returned.

Please note that your bond is held by a third party and not by your landlord or agent. When it's time to claim your bond, both parties must sign a bond release to activate the payment, which should be organised by the property manager.

The bond release will specify whether the landlord will deduct any amount of the money for damage, so read it carefully before signing. If you do not agree with what’s indicated in the release form, then you can refuse to sign and seek advice.

Here are some reasons money will be deducted from the bond:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Breaking the lease early
  • Damage costs
  • Not returning the keys that will prompt landlord to change the locks
  • Missing items from the property like appliances.

General wear and tear of the property such as scratched surfaces, worn carpet, and chipped paint must not be deducted from your bond. You are not liable for the costs of this kind of damages from general use of the property.

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