Some of the items typically listed on a tenant move-out checklist include thoroughly cleaning the premises, discontinuing utility services and turning in all keys. The checklist often details cleaning chores that have been written into the rental agreement, such as professional carpet and drapery cleaning, to remind tenants of specific requirements. It is also the tenant's responsibility to provide the landlord with a forwarding address for the return of the security deposit.
Move-out requirements vary according to the landlord and the state tenancy laws. In Washington state, for example, the mandatory move-in checklist documents the state of the rental unit at the start of the tenancy and is used to compare the condition at the end of the tenancy. Aside from normal wear and tear, small differences such as burnt-out light bulbs and major damage such as holes in the walls may result in deductions from the tenant's security deposit. In Washington, landlords are required to complete the security-deposit statement and refund within 14 days of the tenant's vacancy date.
If the landlord is not legally obligated to join the tenant for a move-out inspection, the tenant should document the cleanup and condition of the premises through photographs, receipts and witness statements. These precautions protect the tenant's rights and eliminate the risk of being unfairly charged for damage caused by others.