Although being a landlord has many benefits, it can also be hard work, particularly if you don’t have an agent acting on your behalf. When a tenant vacates, there are lots of things that need to be taken care of, and it can be easy to forget things if you don’t have a checklist to hand.

The more organized you are, the less likely you are to forget something, so be prepared and try to follow a routine each time a tenant moves out. Here are 8 things to do when a tenant vacates.

Make sure all keys are returned

You don’t want old tenants being able to gain access to the property once they have moved out, so you must get all the keys back from them. If you handed out 3 sets, make sure you get them all back.

Many landlords like to be extra safe and have the change the locks each time a tenant leaves. A locksmith can be costly, so if this is a route you want to go down, it might make sense to learn how to do it yourself instead.

Carry out an exit inspection

When a tenant moves out, check the property for any damage before returning their deposit. Most tenants will treat your property with care and keep it clean and tidy, but others are not so careful.

You are within your rights to withhold some (if not all) of the deposit if anything has been damaged or destroyed, so carry out an inspection asap.

Check furniture

If you are renting out the property furnished, be sure to check everything noted on the inventory during the exit inspection. For example, check there are no burn marks or rips on sofas and check mattresses for signs of bed bugs (trying to kill bed bugs can be a nightmare, so it’s something to look out for before new tenants move in.) Make sure everything listed on the inventory is there, and nothing is missing.

Consider a deep clean

Although tenants are expected to leave the property clean, it’s worth having a deep clean carried out once in a while. If you don’t fancy doing this yourself, many cleaning companies specialize in end-of-tenancy cleans and will ensure that your property looks in tip-top condition.

Refund the tenant’s deposit

Once you have carried out the necessary checks, you must give any deposit payable back to the tenants. Try not to delay doing this as it may be that the tenant needs that money to secure an alternative property. You may not consider that to be your issue but treating them with kindness and being professional is the best way forward.


It’s unlikely that redecorating will be needed at the end of every tenancy, but if your walls are a little grubby or the property looks a bit dated, decorating could help to freshen it up. Not only that, but you might even be able to command a little extra rent each month if it looks a lot nicer.

If you don’t want to go to much expense, a lick of paint should do the trick. Although lighter colors may make the property look bigger, don’t go too light as it will show every single mark, and you could end up having to decorate again when the next tenant moves out.


Over time carpets can become threadbare and no longer fit for purpose, so when a tenant moves out, it is wise to check whether flooring needs replacing. It may be that a good clean is all it needs, but if it is falling apart or showing major signs of deterioration, it is a good idea to have new flooring fitted.

Vinyl is cheap and works well in bathrooms and kitchens, and a hard-wearing carpet is a good idea for living areas or other rooms that are likely to have high footfall.


Periods, when a rental property is empty and unoccupied, can cost you money, particularly if you have a mortgage, so as soon as the property is ready for viewings, get it back on the market. You may even want to arrange viewings before the existing tenant has moved out.

Take new photographs and, if you have an agent, ask them to scour their mailing lists for prospective tenants. Let friends and family know that you have a rental property available and get the word out as soon as possible.