Moving Out of Your Rental Home in Fort Worth: Tenants Checklist

At Specialized Property Management, we enjoy providing outstanding service to our great tenants, and if it’s time for you to move on, we hope you have enjoyed your stay in one of the properties we manage. We know that moving is often stressful, and you probably have a lot of details and deadlines that you’re paying attention to as you pack and schedule. As you are preparing to move onto your next adventure, we ask you to please follow these guidelines to ensure a smooth transition. When we work together, the move-out process goes a lot more smoothly for tenants, owners, and our property management team.

If you have any questions during the final days of your tenancy, please be sure to reach out to a member of our team. You can also find a lot of pertinent information in the resident manual you received at move-in, and even in your lease agreement.

Clean and Prepare the Property

When you moved into your home, you received a property that was clean, functional, and ready for occupancy. We would like you to return the property to us in the same condition. When you move out, we want it to be ready for a new tenant. So, there are a few things you’ll need to pay attention to as you’re making the property look like new.
First, remove all personal items and trash from the home and the yard. It’s difficult to move out completely, and you might think you are doing the next tenants a favor by leaving behind condiments, fixtures, or other personal belongings. However, anything that’s left behind will be removed by us, and your security deposit will be charged. Throw away or donate anything that you don’t want to bring with you to your next home; we cannot allow you to leave furniture, boxes, pictures, or items on the patio or in the yard.

Next, you will need to clean everything thoroughly. This includes appliances such as the microwave, the stove, and the refrigerator. We ask you to be detailed, so it might be worth your time and money to hire professional cleaners. We’ll want to see that the grease and dust has been removed from the range hood, and that everything is scrubbed and wiped down inside the refrigerator. The washer and dryer should be pulled out from the walls so you can remove all lint and sweep out dust, wayward socks, and other items needing to be thrown out. Move the stove as well, so you can be sure to clean around and behind it.

Sinks, cabinets, and drawers should all be wiped down and cleaned out. Then, you’ll want to have your carpets professionally cleaned. We do not want to see any stains or spots on your carpets. Any non-carpeted floors should be washed and dried, and clear of stains, marks, or scratches. Walls tend to gather fingerprints, so clean all of the walls, especially around light switches and doors. Wipe down walls in the hallways and dust the baseboards throughout the house.

Take a look at the windows next. They should be cleaned, and clean the screens as well. You need to remove cobwebs and dead insects, and we’ll want to see them dusted and in good repair. The bathrooms will also need special attention. Make sure tubs, toilets, and sinks are cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.

Once everything is cleaned to exceptional standards, we recommend that you repair or have repaired any damage that you or your pets may have caused to the property. These might be small issues that you didn’t take care of as soon as they happened. Give the property a critical look, and if there are light bulbs burnt out, air filters that need to be changed, or doors that are off their hinges, take care of these matters. We’re going to review the move-in condition report and expect to see the home in the same condition as it was when we turned over the keys to you.

Check your lease agreement to see if you are responsible for the lawn care. If you are, mow the yard before you leave, trim any trees and bushes, and remove debris from the yard. Make arrangements to have your trash picked up before you discontinue your service. You cannot leave trash and garbage in the recycle can or on the premises. This will result in a charge against your security deposit.

These are the basic elements of what you’ll need to do to clean your home and bring it back to move-in condition. Your agent can provide you with a more comprehensive checklist upon request.

Returning Your Security Deposit

security depositAfter you have ensured the property is in good, clean condition, you’ll want to make sure the utilities are taken out of your name. We recommend you wait and have this scheduled for the last day of your lease agreement. You may need to switch your service over to your new home.

When you move out, we expect you will completely vacate the property with all of your belongings. Please return your keys as well as any garage door openers or other passes to our office by noon on the final day of your tenancy.

Once you have moved out, your thoughts will likely turn to your security deposit and when you can expect to get that back. Texas law requires us to return your security deposit within 30 days of your move-out. When you leave the property in excellent condition, we can get your deposit back to you well before the 30 day deadline.

Check the residential lease agreement for detailed explanations on the refund procedure you agreed to. Both the lease agreement and your resident handbook will have clear instructions that show you how to avoid incurring additional charges. Everyone wants to get their full security deposit back, and if you’re careful with the property and follow our simple procedures, you will successfully get your money back.

Tenants are never charged for ordinary wear and tear. We define ordinary wear and tear as the natural and gradual deteriorations of the property over time that results from a tenant’s normal use of the residence. These are the things that happen to a home no matter who is living in it. Wear and tear is normal and expected, and it’s up to the property owner to cover the repair and replacement costs for anything associated with wear and tear. For example, carpeting and paint wear out in the normal course of living, no matter how careful the tenant is. So, scuff marks on the wall from where your sofa may have been moved against it will not be considered damage. That’s wear and tear. Tiny nail holes in the walls from where you hung your pictures are also part of the wear and tear of a home.

However, fees will be incurred for damages beyond ordinary wear and tear. This includes damage caused by negligence when something should have been done to prevent the damage. It also includes failure to warn the owner of the problem which led to greater damage. Abuse, neglect, and misuse of the property will also be considered damage. It’s clear that a tenant has knowingly mistreated the property if there are large holes in the walls, tears in the carpet, or doors that are completely off their hinges.

Any changes to the property without prior approval and without a return to original condition will also be considered damage. So, if you painted your neutral walls a bright color and didn’t return the walls to their normal color, your security deposit will be charged for the cost of painting them. Accidental damage that occurs by mistake is also the tenant’s responsibility. Perhaps you didn’t mean to tear up the lawn and the garden with your car, but if it happens – you will be held responsible for the damage. The extent of the damage, the length of residence, and the character and construction of the building is all considered when determining the ordinary wear and tear.

In general, it will be less expensive if you take care of your own damages than if you allow them to be fixed professionally and with help from the security deposit. Do everything you can to return the property to its proper condition before you leave. Then, when we conduct our move-out inspection, we won’t have any reason to deduct funds from your deposit.

Keep in mind that your security deposit cannot be used as your final month’s rent. Tenants often ask us if they can do this, and it’s not permitted. If you don’t pay the last month of rent, we will consider it a lease violation and take all legal and financial actions to collect that money.

We hope this has answered your questions regarding the move-out process. Hopefully, you have enjoyed your stay in one of our properties and would recommend the homes we manage to other renters. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at Specialized Property Management in Fort Worth. We wish you all the best in the future.

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