When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Paying up and moving out

Moving home is stressful, it helps to be organised. Once you've given your landlord Notice to Quit, you should start planning your move. You need to think about disconnecting your utilities and finding alternative accommodation.

Bills and services

You should notify all your utility providers that you are moving. Let them know the date that you will be leaving the property and give them a forwarding address that bills can be sent to.

If you fail to notify a utility provider that you have moved, you could be held liable for any charges run up by the new tenants. If you are named on any bills that come to the property, ensure the relevant companies are informed that you are leaving. Inform these companies in writing and keep copies of all your letters. You should do this, even if the services are prepaid by card or meter.

Don't forget to contact Land & Property Services, who manage the rates account for your property, to tell them that you are moving.

Cleaning and decorating

Check your tenancy agreement for any clauses referring to the internal decoration of the property. When you leave the property it should be in a similar state to how it looked when you moved in. Check the condition of the property and furniture against the inventory you were given when you moved in. Don't forget to clean appliances, like the fridge and the oven and to clean behind and underneath large pieces of furniture. 

If you've redecorated while you've been living in the property, find out if the landlord wants the property put back as it was.  If the landlord is happy to leave the property as it is, make sure you get this in writing.

Remember, you are responsible for replacing any items that you or guests to your home have damaged. If you fail to replace or repair these, the landlord may keep some of your deposit to cover the costs. You should clean the property thoroughly before you move out and unplug any appliances that are not in use. If the property was professionally cleaned for you moving in, you should have it professionally cleaned before you leave and keep receipts to prove this was done. 

Property inspection

Your landlord should carry out a property inspection when you move out. If possible, ask your landlord to do this when you are present.

When inspecting the property, your landlord should refer to the inventory which you were provided with when you moved in. If there were photographs taken when you moved in, these should be compared to the current state. The landlord must allow for some reasonable wear and tear to the property and furnishings. The level of wear and tear is not specific but the landlord should consider how long you have lived in the property and your household make-up.

You should take dated photographs of the property when you leave it. You may need these as evidence if your landlord decides to keep your deposit and you wish to challenge this using the tenancy deposit scheme's dispute resolution process or in the Small Claims Court.