Leaving Your Accommodation

Whether you’re counting down the days or the thought of moving out brings a tear to your eye, the day to close the door behind you for the final time, draws closer. Luckily, we're here with all the info you need to move out of your accommodation!


Whether you’re counting down the days or the thought of moving out brings a tear to your eye, the day for packing your belongings, clearing out cupboards, cleaning the property from top to bottom, and closing the door behind you for the final time, draws closer.

We understand that, with all the excitement of moving out, it’s easy for things to get forgotten but never fear, the Advice Centre is here to help! We’ve covered just about everything in this article to make the process as easy as possible. Why not check out our Private Housing Leaving Guide too for good measure?!

Plan ahead

We know you’ve likely just finished your exams and the thought of doing any more planning is highly unappealing, but you’ll thank us later. Cross-checking your ideal moving dates with your tenancy agreement, any upcoming plans and any potential moving helpers will enable you to get organised as you get closer.

Don’t forget to discuss move-out dates with your fellow tenants if you are in a shared property. It’s an age-old story- some students may decide to vacate a shared property early, and as a result, the poor remaining tenant(s) are left to do all the end-of-tenancy jobs on their own! Save yourself the trouble by having the conversation early!


It’s often only when the mammoth task of packing your life into bags and boxes is ahead of you, that you begin to realise how much stuff you have. You've likely found it very easy to accrue things along the way, but it’s less easy to figure out what to do with it all once it’s time to move out, especially if you are not staying in the area following the end of your tenancy.

Thankfully, there are plenty of local companies that specialise in secure, accessible and convenient student storage for competitive rates, including LOVESPACE (use code RHOL10 for a special discount!). Alternatively, we've put together a list below of other local storage providers with positive reviews.

 (Please be advised that we are not affiliated with the companies below and, therefore, we would encourage you to do your own research prior to using their services.)

Bills, Bills, Bills

Now that you’ve made arrangements to leave the property, it’s time to notify your utility companies. It’s advisable to provide your electricity and gas companies with at least 48 hours notice that you will be moving home. Providing meter readings on the day you move out of the property should ensure that you receive an accurate final bill, but we would suggest making a note of the readings (and the date on which you took them) to refer to should you need to query the amount you are asked to pay at the end of the tenancy.

More excitingly though, if you have been paying your energy bill via direct debit, you could find that you’re actually owed money! Your supplier should notify you if your account is ‘in credit’ and either, refund the money to you directly or reduce your final direct debit payments accordingly. It may be necessary to contact your supplier to receive your refund at the end of your tenancy.

Failing to settle any unpaid bills at the end of your tenancy will likely result in deductions from your deposit and can negatively impact upon your credit score. If you’re struggling to pay, you can talk to your provider about creating a payment plan or reach out to Financial Wellbeing for some support.

In a shared property, ideally, all tenants will be named on the bills. This helps to avoid any disputes around usage or each tenant’s liability if they’re planning to leave early, as the responsibility is shared evenly between tenants for the duration of the tenancy. However, regardless of whose name is on the bill, you should aim to ensure that all tenants pay their fair share. We understand that these conversations aren’t always easy but it’s important to remember when discussions around finances become tense, that whilst money may come and go, friendships can last a lifetime!


Cleaning can be another point of contention in shared housing, both at the end of your contract and throughout your tenancy. We all have different standards of cleanliness and varying expectations around the maintenance of shared spaces.

Regardless of personal views, you are all responsible for cleaning the property to the same standard as it was let to you at the commencement of the tenancy. Hopefully, you’ll have taken lots of photos when you first moved in which will give you an idea of how clean the property was.

Data from previous years has shown that, in more than half of the cases where landlords made the decision to retain all or some of the tenancy deposit, insufficient cleanliness was the cause. So, whilst I’m sure you can think of more ideal ways to spend your final days in the property, it’s time to don those rubber gloves and get scrubbing! 

Why not make a day of it as housemates? Make a to-do list (check your contract to see if you are required to clean anything specific, otherwise make a general ‘end of tenancy cleaning list’ or find one online), whack on some tunes and get to it! Don’t forget to schedule regular breaks and maybe even little motivational rewards along the way!

An alternative option is to hire a professional cleaning company to do an end of tenancy clean. However, this can be costly and is usually unnecessary. Landlords are no longer allowed to request that you have their property professionally cleaned, on account of the Tenant Fees Bill of June 2019, so long as you leave the property as clean as it was when you moved in.

If you do opt to use a professional cleaning company, make sure to retain a copy of the receipt outlining the work that’s been done which can be sent to the landlord/agent at the end of the tenancy.

Inventory Checks

You’ve likely been in your rental property for over a year now so it’s understandable that there may have been a few changes to the interior along the way. Therefore, allowances are made for the ‘fair wear and tear’ that is the result of everyday living. However, it is your responsibility to replace or repair anything outside of these parameters that has gone missing, been damaged or got broken along the way.

It’s a good idea at this stage to refer to your check-in inventory. You should have been provided with a completed inventory upon moving into the property - try running a search in your email inbox or requesting a copy from your landlord/agent if you’re unable to find it.

The check-in inventory should detail the condition and cleanliness of all furnishings, fittings and fixtures within the property at the time of its completion. Drawing comparisons with the current state of the property will enable you to assess if there are any issues and take the necessary remedial action before deductions are made from your deposit.

It’s not uncommon for there to be disputes at the end of a tenancy agreement so we’d always advise taking lots of time-stamped photos before leaving!


There’s no denying, it’s lovely to have your own private green space to enjoy on those (somewhat rare) lovely sunny days but having your own garden does not come without its obligations.

You are expected to maintain the garden throughout the tenancy, for example by trimming hedges, cutting the grass and removing weeds, unless otherwise stated in your tenancy agreement.

If you’re very fortunate, the landlord may provide a gardener as part of the terms of your contract resulting in less responsibility for you, but you should still be mindful of your use of the space. The garden should be returned at the end of the contract in a similar condition to when you moved in.

Rubbish and Recycling

You may have thought about stocking up on bin bags before move-out day, but it’s more than likely that you’ve still only got one or two waste disposal bins, and you’d be surprised by how quickly you can fill them! Begin the process of clearing out your property as early as possible to avoid a last-minute frenzy to squash a year’s worth (or more) of clutter into the bin.

Leaving it until the last moment to get rid of unwanted items can be a costly mistake! Did you know that the council can issue a fine for over-filling your bins or fly-tipping? If you’ve left the property by the time a fine is issued, deductions will likely be made from your deposit. So, if you don’t want to pay the price (literally), don’t waste any more time getting started!

Ever heard the expression ‘one man's trash is another man’s treasure’? The unloved items gathering dust in your student house may be worth something to someone else! So, before adding it to the bin bag, consider the joy it might bring someone and the satisfaction to be found in giving to others. If you think an item may still hold value for someone, consider visiting your local charity shop to make a donation!
Similarly, don’t throw away the food you haven’t eaten if it’s still in date - it may be the only meal somebody gets today! Find out about where you can donate to local food banks.

Runnymede Borough Council offer the collection and disposal of larger items such as unwanted furniture and appliances but there is a fee for the service, and this must be booked in advance. However, you’ll likely be charged if you leave bulky items behind so if you’re unable to sell unwanted furniture on sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree, it’s worth giving them a call!

Deposit repayment

Landlords are legally required to protect your tenancy deposit in one of the government's protection schemes and should provide you with information on the relevant scheme within 30 days of receipt of payment. You could be owed compensation up to three times the amount of your deposit, in addition to a refund, if your landlord failed to protect your deposit. Please contact the Advice Centre who can advise you further if you believe this to be the case for you!

The three government providers Deposit Protection Service (DPS), mydeposits and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) are there to ensure that your money is kept safely so that you may be refunded what you are owed at the end of the tenancy.  All the protection schemes also have a free dispute service should you need any help in resolving any disagreements about proposed deductions to be made from the deposit at the end of your tenancy.

The Advice Centre also offer free and impartial advice should you face any barriers in getting your deposit back. Similarly, if you’re renting in London, you can contact University of London Housing Services for support.

Arranging a time when all tenants and the landlord/agent can be present at the property to look over the inventory and complete a check-out inspection is a great way of addressing any issues that may otherwise result in deductions from your deposit. Hopefully, as you will have cleaned the property to the required standard and completed your inventory checks prior, there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises in store! Your deposit should be returned to you in full, minus any agreed deductions.

TOP TIP: It may be easier to nominate a lead tenant (if you haven’t already) who will initiate contact with the landlord (in writing) to request the refund upon leaving the property, handle any dealings with the deposit protection scheme and share the refund between tenants once it has been issued!

Please note: If all tenants are not leaving the property, all remaining and any replacement tenants should sign a new agreement with the landlord/agent. This is because a deposit refund will only be issued when your joint tenancy ends and if any joint tenants stay beyond the fixed term, your tenancy is not said to have ended until a new agreement is in place.

What's Next?

To avoid the scene with the infinite number of letters from Harry Potter at the end of your contract, you’ll hopefully have kept on top of your post throughout your tenancy. Unfortunately, whilst the owls in Harry  Potter were able to track Harry down even after his relocation to (quite literally) the middle of the sea, the UK postage system is sadly yet to be quite so intuitive. Therefore, it’s important that, after moving, you share your new address with all the necessary people. Please see page 12 of the Private Housing Leaving Guide for our suggestions on who might need your new address. Here you can also find out about some alternative methods for redirecting your post.

Remember that once you have come to the end of your time as a student, you may be liable to pay council tax - don’t be caught out if your tenancy agreement comes to an end later than June as, in this instance, you may become liable before you reach the end of your tenancy! You can find more guidance on council tax HERE. We’ve also recently released a reel on our Instagram page which may offer some more clarity - check it out HERE!

Sharing is caring.

Here at the Advice Centre, we are passionate about students being treated fairly and we hope you are too! Sharing your student lettings experience can help other students in similar situations who may be looking for housing, facing injustice relating to unfair deductions from their deposit, or dealing with unlawful requests from their landlords.

Whether you’ve had a really positive experience with a landlord/estate agent/housing service or you have been unfortunate enough to have a horror story to tell, please do not hesitate to let us know. We will then be able to offer more informed advice to other students! Just send us an email to advice@su.rhul.ac.uk. You can also leave reviews on websites such as Marks Out of Tenancy and Google.

We’re here for you.

Don’t forget, the Advice Centre is here to offer support on all your housing queries!

We understand that a peaceful and happy living situation is vital for you to get the most out of your university experience so, whether you experience issues when leaving your accommodation, have queries about any of the topics raised in this article, or, have an unrelated housing issue that’s impacting upon your day-to-day life, get in touch - no question is too small!

Our Weekly Drop-Ins are still running on Wednesdays from 1:30pm-3:30pm throughout June. Alternatively, drop us an email and an advisor will get back to you with some guidance - we’d be happy to help!