Five Things to Do Before You Leave for the Last Time (Renters)

Five Things to Do Before You Leave for the Last Time (Renters)

Amongst the hustle and bustle of moving, it can be easy to forget the basics. You’ve been searching for a new place, lining up movers, packing boxes, calling friends and family, the list goes on. Maybe you’re starting a new job. New School. Moving in with a significant other. Regardless, the plethora of things to get done can be astounding.

Throughout this process, it’s important to remember that you and your landlord both have obligations to fulfill before you walk out for the last time. Often, security deposits are on the line and in New York City, those aren’t pocket change. Here’s a quick checklist of five things to do before you leave for the last time.

  • Talk to your landlord early in the moving process. Let them know you’ll be leaving and either ending, or not renewing your lease. Set a move out date and get it in writing with the owner or manager. This not only gives you stability and provides you a date to convey to the moving company, but it’s also the fair thing to do for you landlord. This will give them time to start marketing the property and getting a new tenant lined up, and in the rental market a favorable reference from a previous landlord can go a long way in getting a sought-after apartment.
  • Inspect for damage. Once you have most of your stuff boxed up, and primarily the walls empty, do a walk through of the property. Refer to your lease agreement. Almost all of them will detail what needs to be fixed before moving out (nail holes, dents, dings etc). If it doesn’t, contact the landlord and have them give you those details in writing, then establish a date and time for them to do the final inspection.
  • Repair. Once you have your list of what needs to be fixed per your lease agreement, contact a handyman or a friend if you cannot do the repairs yourself. Schedule them to be at the property as close to the last day as possible so that they can repair any accidental damage that occurred during the moving process. Keep in mind that some agreements require you to paint over any colors you may have put on the walls.
  • Clean Sweep. Now that all your repairs are done, and the property is empty, do a final sweep of the entire dwelling. Open every cabinet, closet, nook and cranny to make sure you have all your things. It’s also a good time to make sure all personal information is removed. People often leave empty medication bottles in the trash, or an old bank statement in a drawer, make sure you take everything personal with you. If your agreement requires the dwelling to be cleaned before you leave, make sure to take care of that as well.
  • The Last Day. On the day of the final inspection, come prepared. During the final inspection, take pictures of every room, wall, floor and window so you can prove that it was in appropriate condition were something to arise down the road. Get a copy of the final inspection, signed by both parties and keep it for at least a year. Once everything’s signed, hand over your keys and say goodbye, preferably by collecting your security deposit.


With all the hustle and bustle of packing, loading and moving, it can be easy to forget to take care of the place that you’re leaving behind. Be sure to follow our list to make sure you get what is rightfully yours and that you aren’t opening yourself up to potential issues with your old landlord in the future.

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