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Tenant Move-Out Process

The move-out process is the landlord’s handling of the tasks he should perform after the tenant has vacated the premises upon termination of the lease. Important tasks include:

  • Confirming the tenant has surrendered the premises

  • Inspecting the premises immediately upon tenant’s vacating to ensure the property is secure and safe.

  • Inspecting the premises to determine if a security deposit claim needs to be made

  • Documenting all damages to the premises, repairs/replacements that need to be made before renting the property again

  • Calculating any monies owed by the tenant under the lease agreement

  • Making a claim on the security deposit

  • Performing any repairs/replacements

These are important to enforce the lease terms, preserve and protect the property, maintain the value of the property, and reduce liabilities.


Utilities


After the tenant has vacated and you have taken possession, take the steps to transfer the utilities in the landlord’s name to keep the power on. Note: if the previous tenant has an unpaid bill, the utility company should not discontinue or refuse service when you switch the utility to the landlord’s name or when a new tenant takes occupancy. See F.S. 180.135.


Tenant Confirmed Surrender


Confirm that the tenant has surrendered is important to avoid any liabilities for terminating the tenancy too soon. See Termination of Tenancy. Confirmation from the tenant can come by any form of communication, but best practice is to get the tenant to affirm in writing that the tenant has surrendered, whether by tenant’s written notice, email or other electronic communication.


Confirm the exact vacate date, because it is important relative to the landlord’s duty to make a timely claim on the security deposit. Once the vacate date is confirmed, mark your calendar 15 and 30 days from the vacate date to ensure that you comply with F.S. 83.49. See Security Deposit Claim Process.


Inspect the Property


Once it is confirmed that the tenant has vacated, inspect the premises immediately, advisably, the day after the vacate date.


This is important to ensure the property is safe and secure. Examples of problems that could exist, and thus, would need to be remedied immediately: (1) water leaks, (2) unlocked or open doors, (3) property-damaging conditions (e.g. putrid smells coming from trash, (4) refrigerator doors opened, (5) squatters taking possession, (6) A/C not set at a god temperature.


This first inspection could be used as an opportunity to take initial photos for purposes of documenting the property condition immediately after the tenant vacates. This helps to prevent the tenant from arguing that a security deposit claim was improper, or that someone else caused the damages or condition in question.


Note what items need to be addressed in the property and assess what vendors may need to be hired to perform services to repair or service the property.


Did the Tenant Violate Obligations


Assess what tenant obligations under the lease agreement were not complied with. For example, regarding yard maintenance, did the tenant:

  • Keep and maintain the premises in good and sanitary condition: mowing, “weed-eating,” raking, weeding flowers beds, trimming shrubs, etc.

  • Water the lawn

  • Keep all drives, walks and streets edged and clean by removing dirt and debris

  • Keep the premises free from any and all dangerous conditions

  • Keep the siding clean and free of mold, mildew and/or debris

  • Replenish mulch in the flower bed

It is highly recommended to use a lease agreement prepared by a landlord-tenant attorney and know your lease agreement well.


Did the Tenant Pay All Fees


Identify what fees or monies the tenant was obligated to pay according to the lease agreement but didn’t pay. Examples may include:

  • Carpet cleaning fee

  • House cleaning fee

  • Unpaid rent

  • Assessed and unpaid fees during the tenancy

Note and account for all unpaid fees and monies owed and make a claim on the security deposit.


Landlord Obligations


Once you have determined what repairs need to be made and what repairs are the landlord’s and tenant’s obligations, notify the landlord of what repairs the landlord should make based on his obligations under the lease agreement and F.S. 83.51(1). The purpose of the landlord’s obligations is to:


1) keep the property habitable according to F.S. 83.51(1)

2) properly maintain the property (e.g. avoid liability)

3) get in rent-ready condition and maximize rent value


Order vendor services to repair the items specified in your work order request. Document the rent-ready conditions, as it will be important to holding the next tenant accountable to any damages you determine that tenant caused during the tenancy.


Security Deposit Process